Burglary Charges are Prosecuted as a Felony
Regardless of how minor breaking and entering might have been at the time, it is prosecuted as a felony in North Carolina. If you are under investigation for burglary, you have to act fast if you want to avoid a conviction.
Burglary is defined as the criminal offense of breaking and entering into a building illegally for the purpose of committing a crime. One doesn’t have to kick a door down or break a lock for the act to be considered burglary. Simply pushing a door open or lifting up a window and climbing into the residence or building would suffice.
Contrary to popular belief, burglary is not always committed in connection with theft. People can be guilty of burglary in connection with any type of crime. People often break into a person’s home for crimes such as stalking, trespassing, sexual harassment, and other crimes. People can be prosecuted for burglary whether or not the intended criminal act was carried out or not.
The key element of burglary consists of trespassing. Trespassing occurs when the person enters someone else’s property without their consent, and as for as breaking into the property, this refers to gaining access to the property by virtually any means. Whether the person blasted through a wall, or walked in through an unlocked door, any form of gaining access to the property without the property owner’s consent would be breaking into the property, no force is required.
In the state of North Carolina, all forms of burglary are prosecuted as felonies. There are however, two degrees of burglary in North Carolina and they are: first degree burglary and second degree burglary. When a person enters a house, an apartment, or a room used for a sleeping apartment, and any person is in any part of the residence when the burglary takes place, then it shall be prosecuted as burglary in the first degree. Burglary in the first degree is punishable as a Class D felony.
If there is nobody at home during the commission of the crime, or if the burglary is committed in any building that is not a private residence, then it is prosecuted as burglary in the second degree. Burglary in the second degree is punishable as a Class G felony.
Burglary charges are serious business. Even if you felt you were justified to go into someone else’s home or vehicle, or store to take something that you believed belonged to you, you may be shocked to find out that you can be prosecuted for breaking and entering.
Breaking or entering into a building without the property owner’s consent is a serious crime. If you are accused of breaking and entering with the intent to commit another crime or larceny, then you are facing felony charges. No matter what happened, or how innocent your intentions were, you can be criminally prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Criminal charges are a very serious matter and require aggressive legal representation. You could be facing years in a state prison, heavy fines, probation or parole, not to mention a permanent criminal record. An aggressive attorney might be able to help get the charges dismissed due to insufficient evidence, or they might get the charges reduced, or they might get a deferred sentence contingent on remedial actions or a “not guilty" verdict if your case has to go to trial. In any case, you are urged to protect your legal rights by securing a criminal defense lawyer right away.