Misdemeanor Breaking or Entering in North Carolina

You may find yourself on the wrong side of the law for getting into someone’s space, even when you have no ulterior motive. What you might be unaware of is that it accounts for a serious crime to enter into someone’s property without permission. Several offenses exist that constitute breaking or entering, as we will explain below. They can result in sentencing and obtaining a permanent criminal record.

In case you or a loved one is facing breaking and entering charges in North Carolina, consider the services of a professional attorney to enable you to understand the legal jargon surrounding your case while building a strong defense. It does not matter that you could be guilty. An experienced lawyer can help reduce your charges to a lesser offense or have them dismissed altogether.

What Are the Elements of a Breaking and Entering Crime?

Misdemeanor breaking and entering, or B&E, is categorized as a Class 1 misdemeanor. It is a crime that falls under North Carolina criminal law whereby the accused breaks or enters someone’s building wrongfully, without their approval, or without right. The North Carolina B&E statute refers to a building as any dwelling house, dwelling, building under construction, uninhabited house, and any structure meant to house or safeguard any property or activity within it. 

The presiding prosecutor must incontestably prove the following elements against the defendant: 

  • The defendant did break in or enter
  • It was an actual building the defendant broke into or entered 
  • The defendant had no permission from the tenant or owner of the building
  • The defendant gained entry without right or wrongfully at the time of committing the crime

It is worth noting that breaking is not just the actual breaking where barriers are removed. It can also construe gaining entry into a building by use of tricks, threat, force, or fraudulent representation.

Penalties for Misdemeanor Breaking or Entering in North Carolina 

Misdemeanor breaking or entering is punishable by a fine and a maximum of 120 days in jail, dependent on any prior convictions and level of charge. That said, if it’s the defendant’s first offense, they face a sentence not exceeding forty-five days as community service. Second and third offenders can be liable to three punishment categories; active or incarceration term, community punishment, or intermediate punishment.

This means there’s a possibility for a previously convicted person not to receive a jail time sentence. Other punishments can include fines, probation, restitution, undergoing a cognitive behavioral program, and court costs.

Instances of North Carolina Misdemeanor Breaking and Entering

Note that both breaking and entering do not have to take place; either one is enough for you to violate the law. Examples of misdemeanor breaking and entering are:

  • Walking through an open door without consent
  • Breaking or entering a building to sleep inside
  • Overcoming a building’s security measure
  • Breaking a building’s window and either getting in or not entering
  • Opening an already cracked open door
  • Breaking into a neighbor’s or friend’s house
  • Entering a random building through an unlocked door to shelter from bad weather
  • Breaking into a neighbor’s house to swim in their pool while they are away
  • Helping an acquaintance shift to a new location that has, say, a gym; later returning there without the friend’s knowledge and breaking into the gym area to use it

These and many more instances can be a violation of the related North Carolina Criminal Statute as long as you enter any premises without consent.

How a North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

Because misdemeanor B&E is quite broad, a criminal defense lawyer will enlighten you on what your charges constitute. They can help you understand the details of what a Class 1 misdemeanor entails, answer any questions you may have, as well as offer information on what to expect in court. Through them, you can recognize your rights and the options at your disposal.

We understand that this may be a difficult and unpleasant time for you, knowing that it can affect your records and have lifelong consequences. For example, it can be challenging to secure a job, get a loan, advance your education, or apply for housing once you are convicted. As such, a lawyer will not only treat all you say with confidence, but also help fight these charges, uphold your rights, and protect your freedom or obtain a reduced jail time. 

You can therefore trust the attorney with all the necessary details related to the case at hand, even if you are guilty. They can then act in your defense by explaining your story and intent. Remember to avail all the relevant paperwork to ease the defense preparation process. These include warrants for arrest, release orders, charging citation copy, and search warrants. With the assistance of a criminal defense attorney, you can challenge the misdemeanor breaking and entering crime through solid defenses like mistake of fact, entry consent by the premises’ owner, necessity, or even rightful entry.

Speak to a Professional Defense Attorney in North Carolina to Discuss Your Defense Today

It is advisable to exercise your right to stay silent once you are arrested until an experienced King Law defense attorney is at your side. This is because anything you say can be used against you. With compassion and empathy, we will be able to handle your situation with the care it deserves. We aim to passionately fight for your rights and fair treatment that would be difficult for you if you self-represented yourself. 

Do not let a misdemeanor breaking and entering charge weigh you down. Our expansive legal experience, knowledge, and skills will enable us to gather enough evidence to develop a strong defense on your behalf. The aggressive approach we employ can yield positive results for your breaking and entering offense. Get in touch with us immediately for assistance by calling (888)748-5464 or (888)748-KING. You can also fill out our contact form.