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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 99492
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Is it illegal to open a unlocked car door in VA? If so what

Customer Question

Is it illegal to open a unlocked car door in VA? If so what could you be charged with?
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 1 month ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

This depends on the situation. Can you please tell me a little more information? What happened? Why did you open the vehicle? Etc.

This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Let's say the person was trying to identify who's vehicle it was.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 month ago.
Thank you. Much depends on the person's intent.
Intent is a mandatory part of a criminal act, called mens rea. If the intent was to steal the vehicle, to take something from the inside, or to harass someone inside - then the person may be liable (for what depends on what the police and ultimately the prosecutor believes they were attempting to do).
If the intent was to see whose vehicle it was, but knowing that it was not THEIRS, then this may carry a charge of assault (imminent fear of being hurt) if someone was inside, or trespass, or something else equivalent.
If the intent was to see if the vehicle was THEIRS or not, then there is likely no criminal liability.
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