Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Abode Definition:

A place or places with which a person has established significant contacts through continuous or extended habitation.

Related Terms: Domicile, Habitual Residence, Dwelling

In a 1918 case R v Braithwaite, Justice Scrutton of the King's Bench compared abode with residence and concluded:

"... abode or residence - phrases which, I think, ordinarily mean the same thing."

In People v Price, Mr. Kirk Price was trying to get out of a conviction based on where he was arrested when he had in his possession a firearm, contrary to the terms of his probation order. He was not allowed to have a firearm outside of his abode. He was caught with a firearm while spending the night at his sister's residence, at "11135 South Ashland".

abodeJustice Gallagher:

"[A]bode is a place with which one has significant and persisting contacts, i.e., a place that a person considers his home and where he intends to live on a more than transient basis.

"Accordingly, while the ordinary meaning of abode — standing alone without a modifier such as permanent or temporary preceding it — always encompasses one's domicile or places of legal or permanent residence, the term also includes those places with which a person has established significant contacts through continuous or extended habitation. Under this definition, a person who merely spends the occasional night someplace, even if he does so regularly, cannot be said to have established such substantial and uninterrupted ties with that location as to make it his abode....

"[A]bode is a place of residence where an individual maintains substantial and long-lasting contacts — i.e., his home....

"Although under this definition it is true that an individual may have more than one abode, it does not follow that any place a defendant spends the night as a guest qualifies as his abode.

"In the instant case, by defendant's own admission, he was never anything more than a guest at 11135 South Ashland. He does not contend that he lived there. Further, he does not contend that he kept a substantial portion of his belongings there; he instead merely asserts that, as an overnight guest, he likely had some belongings on the premises. We decline to hold that the mere possibility that a self-proclaimed guest might bring some personal effects with him when visiting a place constitutes establishing such substantial and long-lasting ties with a place as to make it his abode. Accordingly, we affirm defendant's conviction for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon because he possessed a firearm while not in his abode."


  • People v. Price, 873 NE 2d 453 (Appellate Court of Illinois, 2007)
  • R v Braithwaite, [1918] 2 K.B. 319, at page 330

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