Charlotte Breaking and Entering Defense Lawyers

Charlotte Breaking and Entering Defense Lawyers

Property crimes are some of the most common criminal offenses pursued by the justice department, and depending on the crime, they can carry a heavy sentence. Regardless of circumstances, those charged with breaking and entering deserve fair representation during any criminal trial and should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. At the Law Office of Kevin L. Barnett, we aim to help those in the Charlotte area find proper representation for breaking and entering allegations.

Charlotte Breaking and Entering Defense Lawyers

What Constitutes Breaking and Entering in North Carolina?

The definition of “breaking and entering” is just what it sounds like: invading someone else’s home or car without their consent or that of the property’s owner. However, certain people accused of breaking and entering may be prosecuted with either a misdemeanor or a felony based on the type of property and the purpose of the offense.

Is Breaking and Entering a Felony or Misdemeanor in Charlotte, NC?

Legally, any residence, whether one that is vacant, under construction or built to accommodate a business or other property, is regarded as a building. When someone wrongfully enters a building without authorization, it is a misdemeanor under North Carolina law, known as breaking and entering. Breaking and entering in North Carolina is a Class 1 misdemeanor, the highest and most serious misdemeanor classification under state law, even though it is “just” a misdemeanor. A Class 1 misdemeanor carries a fine imposed by the court and a maximum sentence of 120 days in prison.

When a person enters a building without authorization and has the intent to conduct a crime while inside, breaking and entering can be charged as a felony in Charlotte, North Carolina. For instance, someone could face felony charges if they break into a building to hurt the occupants. However, the defendant’s intention to harm the person within must be established in court. It is not necessary to establish the defendant’s intent to find them guilty of felony breaking and entering. Instead, the defendant’s intent can be deduced from their behavior. In North Carolina, if pursued as a felony, breaking and entering is a Class H felony that carries a fine imposed by the court and a maximum sentence of 25 months in jail.

Differences Between Robbery, Larceny, Burglary, and Breaking and Entering

Property theft crimes cover a wide array of charges, each with specific factors that impact their severity and sentencing level. Although robbery, larceny, burglary, and breaking and entering may seem interchangeable, they are vastly different crimes, and North Carolina punishes each differently. Each crime and its definition are as follows:

  • Robbery: Robbery is regarded as a violent offense in the state of North Carolina. Robbery is the direct, unlawful taking of another person’s property or the attempted theft of such property using force or the threat of force. For the threat or use of force to be present, at least one victim must be present during the heist. Unlike theft crimes, where a person does not need to be there for the crime to occur, this one does. The victim only needs to own the property; he does not need to be the owner. If one person is present, the crime might happen anywhere—on the street, in a house, in a shop, a bank, etc. Robbery is always pursued at the felony level and is considered a Class G felony.
  • Larceny: The illegal taking of another person’s property is known as larceny. Larceny is the most common type of theft violation in North Carolina, and it carries a range of sanctions from a misdemeanor to a felony. This crime is classified as a misdemeanor when another person’s personal property, worth $1,000 or less, has been illegally removed without permission and causes permanent deprivation of the property. Felony larceny calls for the theft of commodities valued at more than $1,000. Commission of another crime, like robbery, burglary, or the theft of a weapon or explosive, is also considered felony larceny.
  • Burglary: Entering a home or building to commit a crime is called burglary. Theft is typically involved in that crime. If someone enters a building or residence without permission and has the intention of committing a crime other than stealing, they may be charged with burglary. Lack of intent is a potential defense against burglary, as it is against other stealing offenses. First-degree burglaries occur while occupants of the house or other buildings are sleeping or otherwise present. When the installation is empty, a second-degree burglary occurs. For instance, a person is not guilty of burglary if they break into a house or other structure because they think someone within needs help. Additionally, depending on whether someone was hurt, a defendant can fight the allegation of first- or second-degree burglary.
  • Breaking and entering: If someone illegally breaks into or enters a property, they may be prosecuted for breaking and entering, which can be either a felony or misdemeanor. In North Carolina, a building is any dwelling, residence, unoccupied house, construction project, or any other structure intended to house or secure any activity or property. Buildings are defined for both misdemeanor and felony offenses. Any degree of force can be used in a break-in, such as opening a door or window that isn’t locked to enter a property without the owner’s consent.

Other crimes, such as theft or possession of stolen goods, embezzlement, trespassing, and vandalism, are all counted as property crimes as well. The laws in North Carolina regarding stealing charges are intricate. Someone can be found guilty of a misdemeanor if the objects they are accused of stealing have a worth of less than $1,000. Anything valued over $1,000 that is taken will probably be charged as a felony. However, taking something from someone else will always result in a felony charge if they did it while the victim was there (robbery) or after breaking (burglary). The crime may also increase due to other circumstances. A defendant’s criminal background will also affect the specific penalty they receive.

How Are Felonies and Misdemeanors Charged?

The essential distinction between the two categories of offenses, besides whether the crime is considered violent, is punishment. The maximum term for a misdemeanor conviction is 150 days in jail. However, a felony conviction carries a minimum term of 12 months in jail. There is no set definition of the maximum sentence, and all offenses punishable by death are regarded as felonies.

The breakdown for misdemeanors is as follows:

  • Class 3: The least serious misdemeanor classification, with a maximum fine and jail sentence of $1,000.
  • Class 2: These offenses are more serious and carry potential prison terms of 60 days and fines of $1,000.
  • Class 1: The maximum punishment for these violations is a judge-ordered fine and up to 120 days in prison. If the original charge, a Class 2 or Class 3 misdemeanor, was committed because of the victim’s race, color, nationality, religion, or place of origin, a hate crime would be charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
  • Class 1A: These crimes are punishable by up to 160 days in jail and a discretionary fine depending on the case’s evidence because they almost always result in a felony conviction.

Felonies, on the other hand, are split into ten different classes with distinct sentencing guidelines, varying based on the nature of the crime. From there, a defendant’s record is evaluated, and all prior convictions are matched up to a points system, which is then added up and put into a level system to determine the appropriate charges for the crime at hand.

The range of the current crime’s disposition is the last factor considered when selecting how to prosecute a particular offense. This range fluctuates according to the prior convictions’ felony classification, the nature of the most recent conviction, and the criminal history. The aggravated range is used in cases of violent offenses, the presumptive range is used as a typical range for felony convictions, and the mitigated range is used in circumstances when the ultimate verdict takes into account things like child support, family responsibilities, or countenance.

North Carolina’s system is hyper-tailored to each case; as a result, the expected judicial outcomes for a specific conviction can vary based on past prison time and convictions. For example, if a person’s first offense is a class 1 misdemeanor for breaking and entering, they will be sentenced to 120 days in prison; however, if the offense was not a first-time conviction, the penalties could be higher. Similarly, if the breaking and entering charge was pursued on the felony level, the charges could be more severe. Consulting a Charlotte criminal defense attorney to discuss these charges and the likelihood of conviction is critical preparation that needs to be done before going to court.

Finding Legal Representation For Breaking And Entering Charges In NC

Breaking and entering is a serious offense, and depending on the severity of the charges, it could result in heavy charges. Fortunately, for those in the Charlotte area, the legal team at the Law Office of Kevin L. Barnett can help provide the necessary support for any breaking and entering the case. To schedule a consultation with our team, visit our website and contact us today.


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