Crashing Private Events Is Legal; Proposed California Law Would Change That

The California legislature this summer will consider a bill that would make it a misdemeanor to crash private events uninvited. A loophole in state law has made it difficult to prosecute people who sneak into events -- particularly Hollywood awards shows -- as trespassers. As it stands they're not trespassing unless the host tells them to leave. The bill would make it a specific crime to sneak into such an event uninvited or to otherwise misrepresent oneself to get in.

AB 451 was written by Pasadena Assemblyman Anthony Portantino and sponsored by the Screen Actors Guild, which expressed concerns when the Los Angeles City Attorney's office dropped possible charges against crashers at its January awards show.

"In this instance, SAG made a citizen's arrest and held the trespassers until the Los Angeles Police Department showed up to take them away," reads an analysis of the proposed bill. "Due to a technical flaw contained in specific portions of existing California law relating to trespass, the Los Angeles City Attorney was not able to prosecute these individuals."

Portantino told the Daily News that, under his bill, "if you're there an at event where you don't have a ticket, and you're asked to leave and you don't want to leave, you're trespassing."

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Do we really need this? As it stands, people who are asked to leave and don't would be trespassing and could be prosecuted. It's a simple matter of asking folks to take a hike. And the state justice system is overwhelmed and under-funded.

Party crashers could get six months behind bars and receive a $1,000 fine.


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