Saturday, January 28, 2017

Is it illegal to check into a hotel under a wrong name?

It's not illegal, but we're not going to let you do it. Every guest must show an ID at check-in. (That's not a law, it's our policy, and one we feel that it would be irresponsible to not have, and to not go by. Our house, our rules. You don't have to show the ID, but if you choose not to, we're not going to rent you a room. Your choice.)

Image result for couple checking into motel

Famous people just have someone else check in for them. As long as that someone else is actually staying in the hotel, we let them (Michael Forrest Jones' answer to How do celebrities stay in hotels under assumed names? ).

About the only law I've seen on the subject shows up in Southern states, the Carolinas in particular. Don't sign in as "Mr. and Mrs." at a hotel or motel in North Carolina unless you are in fact married to the person accompanying you: it's a violation of a statute entitled 'Occupying a Hotel Room For An Immoral Purpose'. 

(There really is such a law - GS_14-186  - but I've never seen any attempt to enforce it. Half the reason that many hotels and motels - in North Carolina or anywhere else - even exist at all is as a place for people on a date to shack up and have sex. It's not a very good law, but since we have it, we could make good use of it to close down a lot of nuisance properties - it is hotels whose business is primarily local people that tend to be the staging areas for other, more serious, criminal activity; drugs, prostitution, robberies, fugitives hiding out, parties that go bad, general disorderly conduct.)

It's not against the law for an unmarried couple to register as husband and wife in South Carolina, but it does have legal consequences there: South Carolina is one of the few remaining states that still recognizes common-law marriage. Registering in a hotel room as husband and wife has been held by the courts there to establish that such a marriage exists or existed. Do it in the Palmetto State and, congratulations, may you have a long, happy life together. Or, hope the divorce isn't too messy . . .

Originally appeared on Quora

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