Olsinski Law Firm team

Breaking and Entering

Speak With an Experienced Charlotte Property Crimes Lawyer to Get Started on Your Defense Today

Breaking into or entering another’s home or business is considered a serious offense in North Carolina, and the state’s breaking and entering laws are very strict. If convicted, you could face a prison sentence and hefty fines—even if it’s your first offense.

The Charlotte breaking and entering lawyers at the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, have decades of combined experience defending clients charged with felony and misdemeanor property crimes.

If you face charges of unlawfully breaking in or entering into a property, building, or home, it is essential to have a dedicated Charlotte criminal defense attorney by your side at every step of the way.

North Carolina Breaking and Entering Offenses

In North Carolina, breaking and entering can be either a felony or misdemeanor, depending on whether you are alleged to have broken into a structure and whether it was occupied.

Misdemeanor Breaking and Entering

Under North Carolina G.S. § 14-54, misdemeanor breaking and entering involves unlawfully breaking into or entering any building. Misdemeanor breaking and entering is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to between 45 and 120 days in jail, depending on your prior record. A conviction for a Class 1 misdemeanor also carries a fine, which the judge is in charge of determining.

An example of misdemeanor breaking and entering is climbing into an open window of an abandoned building to keep warm during a storm.

Felony Breaking and Entering

North Carolina’s felony breaking and entering statute is also contained within N.C.G.S. § 14-54, which provides that anyone who unlawfully breaks into or enters a building with intent to do any of the following is guilty of a Class H felony:

  • Commit any felony,
  • Commit a larceny,
  • Injuring an occupant, or
  • Terrorizing an occupant.

An example of felony breaking and entering is breaking into a home that is in the process of being remodeled to steal tools or fixtures.

A conviction for a Class H felony carried a prison sentence between 4 and 25 months, assuming you have no prior convictions.

For these purposes, the term “building” includes occupied or unoccupied homes, houses that are under construction, and any structure designed to house or secure property, such as a shed. Thus, the crime covers both residential and commercial structures, as well as those that are occupied or abandoned. However, in most cases, breaking into a residential structure will be considered felony breaking and entering or burglary.

The Importance of “Intent” in Breaking and Entering Cases

The difference between misdemeanor and felony breaking and entering really comes down to the reason why you unlawfully entered the property. While some people break into other homes or businesses to commit a felony, you may have done so for other reasons. For example, many people break into buildings to stay warm during the winter. However, even though you may not have had any intent to commit a robbery or other felony once inside, police, prosecutors, and property owners usually assume the worst when dealing with intruders. To overcome this negative bias, it is essential to consult with a knowledgeable defense lawyer to discuss the circumstances of your case.

Are You Facing Misdemeanor or Felony Breaking and Entering Charges in Charlotte, NC?

If you were recently arrested for breaking or entering, it is imperative that you find a lawyer who will take your case as seriously as you do. At the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, our lawyers have successfully defended countless clients charged with various property crimes. Unlike other law firms, our attorneys handle these initial consultations personally. This way, we can start to get to know you and your case right away, giving us a good foundation to develop a compelling defense strategy. Contact a Charlotte criminal defense attorney at one of our offices if you stand accused of unlawfully entering another’s property. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 704-405-2850, or connect with us through our secure online contact form.

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