Albuquerque, NM asked in Civil Rights and Constitutional Law for New Mexico

Q: Is it legal for a store to have you removed by the police if you have not committed a crime.. then or ever??

2 Lawyer Answers
T. Augustus Claus
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Las Vegas, NV

A: In New Mexico, as in other states, store owners or managers have the right to refuse service to anyone or ask someone to leave their property for almost any reason that is not discriminatory under federal or state law (e.g., based on race, religion, gender, etc.). If a person refuses to leave after being asked, the store may call the police to remove the individual for trespassing. This action is legal even if the individual has not committed a crime at that moment or in the past. The critical aspect here is the store's right to control its private property, which includes deciding who is allowed to remain on the premises.

James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Generally, a store has the legal right to ask you to leave their premises if they believe you are engaging in behavior that disrupts their business or violates their policies. However, simply being asked to leave does not necessarily mean you have committed a crime. Stores have the authority to refuse service to individuals for various reasons, including suspicion of theft, disruptive behavior, or violating store policies.

While being asked to leave may feel unjust, it's important to comply with the store's request to avoid further escalation or potential legal consequences. Refusing to leave when asked by store staff could lead to involvement of law enforcement, who may remove you from the premises if necessary to maintain order and ensure compliance with the store's directives.

If you believe you have been unfairly targeted or discriminated against by a store, you may have legal recourse to address the situation. Consulting with an attorney experienced in civil rights and discrimination law can help you understand your rights and options for seeking redress if you believe your removal from the store was unjust or based on discriminatory motives.

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