If you have been charged with burglary in North Carolina, you are facing serious charges that can result in a lengthy prison sentence and a permanent criminal record. Many people confuse this crime with robbery or the less serious offense of breaking and entering, but burglary is a separate offense that is treated harshly in our state. If you have been arrested for this crime, you need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney to build a strong defense so that you achieve the best possible consequences given your situation.
What Is Burglary?
Burglary is the non-permissible breaking and entering into a dwelling with the intent to commit a felony or larceny. Unlike robbery, burglary does not require the use of force. It is a crime in a specific building—a dwelling. A dwelling can be a building where a person lives or sleeps.
Breaking and entering is the use of any amount of force to enter a building without permission. Opening an unlocked door or a window would be considered the use of force and breaking and entering into a home.
First- and Second-Degree Burglary Offenses and Penalties
There are two degrees of burglary crimes in North Carolina, and both are felonies. Here is how they differ:
- Second-degree burglary. It is considered second-degree burglary to break and enter into an unoccupied dwelling or any building within the curtilage of the dwelling without permission with the intent to commit a felony or larceny. Curtilage refers to the area around a person’s home. This is a Class G felony punishable by between 8 and 31 months in prison.
- First-degree burglary. First-degree burglary is the breaking and entering into an unoccupied dwelling without permission with the intent to commit a felony of larceny. Unlike second-degree burglary, the residence must be occupied and the breaking and entering cannot be of a curtilage of the dwelling. First-degree burglary is a Class D felony. If convicted, you could be sentenced to 38 to 160 months in prison.
Other Burglary Offenses You May Be Charged With Committing
There are other burglary-related crimes in North Carolina. They are also felony offenses and can be charged as an additional charge. Like most states, North Carolina makes it an offense to possess specific tools that may be used to commit the burglary. Under our laws, it is a crime for a person to be found armed with a dangerous or offensive weapon or to have in his possession without a lawful reason a picklock, key, bit, or other implement of housebreaking when committing burglary. Preparation to commit a burglary or another housebreaking is a Class I felony that is punishable by 3 to 12 months in prison.
Burglary with explosives is a crime that an individual can be charged with if explosives were used to break into a residence. This is a Class D felony with punishments similar to first-degree burglary.
Breaking out of a dwelling is also a burglary crime. Its elements include entering into a dwelling without consent with the intent to commit a felony or larceny and then breaking out of the residence at night. It can be charged if the person did not have to break in to enter and if the unlawfully entering occurred in the day. This is another Class D felony crime.
Burglary offenses have very specific elements that the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt for you to be found guilty. Given the lengthy prison sentence you are facing if convicted, you cannot afford to go it alone. Our experienced criminal defense lawyers can help you mount a strong defense to the charges you face so that they are dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. To learn more about what you can expect in your criminal proceedings and how we can assist you, call our Charlotte office today to schedule your free consultation.