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  by Jill  Harness – December 25, 2012 – 9:30 AM


Sometime between when you went to bed last night and when the sun came up  this morning, a fat man in a red suit shimmied down your chimney to leave  presents (or, if you were naughty, coal) under your tree. Though you’re not  likely to raise a fuss because the only thing Santa takes from your home is that  plate of cookies, you might wonder: Is old Saint Nick actually breaking the law  by coming into your house?

According to San  Diego criminal lawyer Peter Liss, Santa has nothing to worry about—at least  in California. That’s because trespassing involves entering a property without  consent, but by wishing for presents on mall Santas’ laps, sending letters to  the North Pole, and leaving out milk and cookies, people across the world have  implied that Mr. Claus is, in fact, welcome in their homes.

That doesn’t mean you should go around playing Santa Claus, though.  Gaining entry into someone’s property through impersonation of a celebrity is  fraud. In fact, The Legal Geeks argue  that Jack  Skellington, the most famous Santa impersonator of all, could be left facing  all kinds of criminal charges, including: conspiracy; kidnapping; false  impersonation; torture (at the “hands” of Mr. Oogie Boogie); breaking and  entering; and assault and battery on an unknown number of families.

So remember, everyone: Leave out your milk and cookies for Mr. Claus, but  don’t get into the Christmas spirit by pretending to be St. Nicholas.  You could get in a heap of trouble.

Merry Christmas!

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