If a police officer arrests you for breaking and entering in North Carolina, the crime with which the state will charge you depends on several factors, including what type of building you broke into, whether another person or persons occupied it, and your reason for attempting to enter in the first place. It is important that you understand the distinctions between the various property crimes so you can know what to expect in terms of consequences.
In North Carolina, the crime of breaking and entering can be either just that — breaking and entering — or it can be the more serious crime of burglary. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense, you may face misdemeanor or felony charges. FindLaw explores the various property crimes that NC recognizes and the penalties associated with each.
Breaking and entering as burglary
In North Carolina, breaking and entering becomes burglary when you break into a home or dwelling with the intent to commit a crime, such as theft. If the home is occupied at the time of the incident, the state will likely charge you with first-degree burglary. First-degree burglary is a Class D felony and is punishable by between 64 to 80 months in prison.
If no one is home at the time of the crime, the state may reduce the charges against you to a second-degree offense. Second-degree burglary is a Class G felony that is punishable by between eight and 31 months in jail.
Breaking and entering as breaking and entering
If you broke into and entered a building that functions as something other than a home or dwelling, the state may charge you with the lesser property crime of breaking and entering. The state classifies this crime in one of three ways: As a Class 1 misdemeanor, a Class H felony and a Class G felony.
Merely breaking and entering without the intent to commit a crime is the least severe of the offenses and does not come with jail time. The state may elevate your charges to a Class H felony if you unlawfully enter a building for the sake of committing larceny or a felony. A Class H felony comes with a presumptive prison term of six months for first-time offenders. If the build you unlawfully enter is a place of worship, the state will automatically elevate the crime to a Class G felony, which is punishable by between 10 and 13 months in jail.
A breaking and entering conviction can have a severe adverse impact on your reputation and future. If you face these types of charges, take immediate action to defend your innocence and rights.