Ithaca, NY asked in Criminal Law and Securities Law for New York

Q: Why would a mall cop come to your car after you've been sitting parked in a lot for twenty minutes?

I had pulled into a mall during operating hours to make a phone call since I was on a road trip and wanted to do so safely. So I park at a mall. In an empty lot, away from all the other cars. So I'm on the phone maybe fifteen minutes when a mall security officer starts walking across the lot towards my car. Was I doing something wrong? I left before they got near. Just got freaked out.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Aubrey Claudius Galloway
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • New Rochelle, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: The only thing I can see from the above fact pattern is that, perhaps, you were trespassing… Although after just 15 minutes I would think of you as "an invitee" as opposed to a "trespasser."

Regardless, if either of the store or, in the unlikely event the town police brought a legal action against you, you have the most common and effective defense to trespassing… Namely, as you said above and thus would testify to, (I had to) make a phone call and...wanted to do so safely)."

They potentially have something to do against you, but they are likely overwhelmingly against this as it is a waste of time and money for both the store and the state regardless; if somebody brought a claim, god forbid, you can sleep safely in knowing that you had a defense that says, basically, that "you're allowed to trespass if doing so will or could prevent harm or potential harm to yourself or another person and/or to someone's personal property.

This is nothing to worry about. In fact, we learned something today… It is OK to trespass so long as you were doing so to protect yourself or another person or significant monetary resources... any of the three is an affirmative defense

I hope this helps, but I would not worry about this.

God for bid something does happen, feel free to contact the undersigned for a free consultation.

Aubrey C. Galloway III, Esq

Founding Partner

Law Offices of Aubrey C. Galloway III, Esq., P.C.

2 Overhill Rd, suite 400

Scarsdale NY, 10583

P: 914-912-1555

Fax: 914-740-8130


P.S. - excuse any typos as I am dictating on my iPhone

Ali Shahrestani,
Ali Shahrestani,
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: They are hired to inspect for any possible security issues. I see no problem here. More details are necessary to provide a professional analysis of your issue. The best first step is an Initial Consultation with an Attorney. You can read more about me, my credentials, awards, honors, testimonials, and media appearances/ publications on my law practice website, I practice law in CA, NY, MA, and DC in the following areas of law: Business & Contracts, Criminal Defense, Divorce & Child Custody, and Education Law. This answer does not constitute legal advice; make any predictions, guarantees, or warranties; or create any Attorney-Client relationship.

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