Is Crashing Your Ex's Wedding Illegal?
We've all seen a movie where someone storms into a church during a wedding at the last minute in hopes of stopping the one they love from marrying the "wrong" person.
The phrase "speak now or forever hold your peace" has long been a part of traditional wedding ceremonies and actually began as a legality to give interested parties the chance to object to the validity of a marriage during the Medieval Age.
But what does this opportunity to state reasons a couple shouldn't join together in holy matrimony mean? If we learned anything from the recent exploits of Britney Spears' ex-husband/wedding crasher, it's that going beyond a simple "I object" can lead to an array of criminal charges.
It's Britney, B****
Spears is no stranger to tying the knot. In 2004, she married her backup dancer, Kevin Federline, with an over-the-top surprise wedding that included personalized (and bedazzled) velour jumpsuits. The couple divorced in 2007.
Prior to marrying Federline, Spears eloped with her childhood sweetheart, Jason Alexander, in Las Vegas. The marriage lasted a mere 55 hours before it was annulled.
Since then, Alexander has been singing his own version of "Hit Me Baby One More Time" by giving countless interviews about his desire to reunite with Spears and claiming their love was "stolen" away by her parents. He's also been a public advocate for the "#freebritney" movement in support of ending the singer's years-long conservatorship.
No Invite? No Problem!
Did Alexander show up uninvited to Spears' third wedding earlier this month in an attempt to reunite with the princess of pop? Here's what happened.
Alexander livestreamed himself on Instagram entering Spears' home in California where her third wedding was taking place. He could be heard telling his viewers that Spears was "my first wife, my only wife."
Alexander made his way through the property and got into a physical altercation with security before he was arrested by the Ventura County Sheriff's Office and taken to a local jail.
Despite Alexander's efforts, Spears went on to wed her longtime love, Sam Asghari, and celebrated with her famous friends. Wedding guests included Madonna, Paris Hilton, Selena Gomez, and Drew Barrymore.
Is Wedding Crashing a Felony?
In this situation, probably. Alexander has been charged with felony stalking. In California, stalking is a pattern of willful and malicious behavior rather than a one-time occurrence. To establish stalking, a prosecutor would have to prove Alexander:
- Harassed or repeatedly followed Spears
- Made threats causing Spears to fear for her or her family's safety
Prior to this occasion, Alexander made numerous attempts to contact and get closer to Spears. It has also been reported that Alexander had a knife when he entered her home.
Can Wedding Crashers Be Charged with Any Other Crimes?
Yes. In this case, Alexander has also been charged with misdemeanor battery, vandalism, and trespassing. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
California defines battery as force or violence used against another person. It's been reported that Alexander got physical with two of the security officers who attempted to detain him.
For Alexander to be found guilty of vandalism, he had to intentionally damage property owned by someone other than himself.
In California, willfully entering property owned by someone else without the owner's permission is the crime of trespass. The footage from Alexander's Instagram livestream could likely be used to establish his intent to crash Spears' wedding by showing up at her home without an invitation and his refusal to leave when confronted by security.
So, while there is no crime of "wedding crashing," there are a bounty of criminal charges you could face if you show up somewhere uninvited and refuse to leave. So keep that in mind as your long-lost love prepares to tie the knot.
A #FreeJasonAlexander Movement?
Unlikely. Spears received a three-year protective order against Alexander. In California, the penalty for violating a protective order carries a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail and/or a maximum fine of up to $1,000.00.
For his own sake, let's hope Alexander moves on and avoids playing "Oops I Did It Again" in the future.
- Battery Basics (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- California's Criminal Trespass Laws (FindLaw's State Laws)
- Is Britney Spears Legally Married? (FindLaw's Legal Commentary)
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