Despite the fact that North Carolina's "bathroom bill" has constantly been in the news lately, many people continue to have questions about this particular legislation.
For instance, while most people are aware that this bill bans individuals from using public restrooms that don't match the sex listed on their birth certificates - a condition some feel is discriminatory against the transgender community - many have not read the bill's actual text, meaning there is still some confusion surrounding the specifics of this legislation.
3 questions commonly asked about NC's bathroom bill
1. Is it a criminal offense for transgendered individuals to use a public bathroom that doesn't match the sex listed on his or her birth certificate?
No, the bill - otherwise known as House Bill 2 - does not create any type of criminal offense. Therefore, the legislation does not allow police to arrest you for solely using a bathroom the law deems incorrect. In fact, the bill doesn't list any penalties whatsoever for violations - meaning it is still unclear how this law will even be enforced.
Although the so-called "bathroom bill" does not specifically make it a crime for a person to use a bathroom that does not match his or her birth-gender, other criminal laws in North Carolina may apply to that conduct. For example, if a person born a male enters a women's restroom, the State could argue that that person has (1) "trespassed" in violation of N.C.G.S. § 14-159.12; or (2) broke and entered in violation of N.C.G.S. § 14-54. Of course, depending on the facts, other criminal violations may have occurred as well. Even before House Bill 2 was passed, Roberts Law Group, PLLC, represented male clients accused of entering a woman's bathroom for the purpose of being a "peeping Tom" in violation of N.C.G.S. § 14-202. But North Carolina's peeping Tom statute should not apply to a person who simply enters a restroom different from his birth sex for the purposes of using the restroom, etc.
2. Are businesses in trouble if they allow shoppers to choose the bathroom they deem correct?
Importantly, NC's bathroom bill only applies to public bathrooms in government buildings and schools, not businesses in the private sector. This is why some businesses (Target, for instance) can allow their customers and employees to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.
3. Can cities create their own ordinances to counter the provisions of the bathroom bill?
No, they cannot. In fact, the legislation clearly says that state law supersedes any ordinances or regulations created by cities and local governments. This means cities have no say on whether or not they want to follow this law in public buildings.
If you're ever arrested in North Carolina...
It's always a good idea to know a lawyer or two. If you or a family member are ever arrested for a crime in North Carolina, call Patrick Roberts at 877-880-5753. In the meantime - not that we want you to get arrested - keep up with Roberts Law Group, PLLC, on Facebook.