Like most of 2020, Halloween will be different this year. In the age of COVID-19, some people are opting for virtual Halloween parties while others may choose to go trick-or-treating as usual.
After all, it’s one of the few activities during which most people would wear a mask, regardless of the pandemic. However, before you plan an elaborate Halloween costume and set out the carved pumpkin on your doorstep, let’s discuss the mischief and dangers that lurk around the Halloween season.
Defending Against Halloween Mischief
The concept of criminal mischief is called “criminal damage to property” in Kansas. It includes knowingly damaging, destroying, defacing, or substantially impairing the use of any property in which another has an interest without the consent of such other person.
This applies to both real and personal property. So, if the teenage mischief makers come out this year, how can you protect yourself and your property from criminal damage?
If you are lawfully in possession of property, such as the owner or tenant, you are justified in the use of force against someone to prevent or terminate an unlawful interference with that property, including both trespass and damage.
When the ghosts and goblins come out at night and begin to destroy your holiday decorations or throw eggs and toilet paper on your property, you can only use the force reasonably necessary to stop them. In your use of this reasonable force, realize that you cannot use deadly force to protect only property. If they are attempting to enter or have entered your home illegally and by force, then you would have a right to use deadly force and would benefit from the added protections offered by the Castle Doctrine.
Costumes, Accessories, and Weapons
Now, let’s consider some of the things you should be aware of when you are donning a costume. You must exercise a great deal of careful consideration when you are wearing a costume that includes carrying a weapon (cavemen, zombies, zombie slayers, martial arts practitioners, etc.).
If you possess anything that meets the definition of a bludgeon, sandclub, metal knuckles, throwing star, billy, blackjack, slingshot, or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument of like character, and carry it concealed on your person, you are committing the offense of criminal carrying of a weapon, irrespective of your intent.
Thankfully, anything that is a hollow plastic or blow-up object which resembles these items should not land you in jail.
Wearing a Mask During Halloween
Further, if you plan to wear a mask, either as part of a costume or in response to the ongoing mandate issued by the Governor recommending masks, you should be aware that the State of Kansas has no laws that prohibit or criminalize the wearing of a mask while in possession of a firearm. Therefore, it is acceptable to wear a mask while carrying a firearm.
We hope that you will not encounter these or any other dangers this Halloween.
However, if you have any further questions regarding criminal damage to property in the State of Kansas, or your rights, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.
The preceding should not be construed as legal advice nor the creation of an attorney-client relationship. This is not an endorsement or solicitation for any service. Your situation may be different, so please contact your attorney regarding your specific circumstances. Because the laws, judges, juries, and prosecutors vary from location to location, similar or even identical facts and circumstances to those described in this presentation may result in significantly different legal outcomes. This presentation is by no means a guarantee or promise of any particular legal outcome, positive, negative, or otherwise.