Burglary

North Carolina General Statute § 14-51.2(d) establishes that a person who “unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person’s home, motor vehicle, or workplace is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.” In many cases, an alleged offender who breaks and enters into another party’s property with the intent to commit a crime is charged with the felony offense of burglary.

People can be charged with burglary even if they do not carry out the intended unlawful act. When an alleged offender wrongfully breaks or enters any building without intent to commit an unlawful act, that person can still face misdemeanor charges of breaking or entering.

Attorney for Burglary Arrests in Raleigh, NC

Were you recently arrested or do you think that you could be under investigation for an alleged burglary anywhere in the Research Triangle area? Even if you know that you are innocent, you should not say anything to authorities without legal counsel. Contact the Coolidge Law Firm today.

David Coolidge is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Raleigh who represents clients accused of theft and property crimes in Cary, Apex, Wake Forest, Garner, Holly Springs, Raleigh, and many surrounding areas of Wake County as well as students at such local colleges as William Peace University, North Carolina State University (NCSU), Wake Technical Community College (Wake Tech), and Meredith College. Call (919) 239-8448 to receive a free, confidential consultation that will allow our attorney to review your case and help you understand all of your legal options.


Overview of Burglary Crimes in North Carolina


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Burglary Charges in Wake County

While burglary is often used interchangeably with robbery, they are actually two separate crimes. Robbery involves a larceny crime committed by force or with threat of force against an alleged victim while a person can be charged with burglary even if the intended unlawful act was not committed.

Under North Carolina General Statute § 14-51, an alleged offender commits the Class D felony offense of burglary in the first degree if that person breaks and enters a dwelling house or a room used as a sleeping apartment in any building without consent and any person is present in such location during the commission of the alleged crime. If the dwelling house or a room used as a sleeping apartment in any building is unoccupied, then the crime is classified as the Class G felony offense of burglary in the second degree.

Several other crimes relating to burglary are established under Chapter 14, Article 14 of the North Carolina General Statutes. Additional offenses include the following:

  • Breaking out of dwelling house burglary — Under North Carolina General Statute § 14-53, it is a Class D felony if an alleged offender enters the dwelling house of another with intent to commit any felony or larceny therein, or being in such dwelling house, commits any felony or larceny therein, and, in either case, breaks out of such dwelling house in the nighttime;
  • Breaking or entering buildings generally —North Carolina General Statute § 14-54 makes it a Class H felony if an alleged offender breaks or enters any building with intent to commit any felony or larceny, or breaks or enters any building with intent to terrorize or injure an occupant of the building. If a person wrongfully breaks or enters any building, the crime is a Class 1 misdemeanor;
  • Breaking or entering a building that is a place of religious worship — Under North Carolina General Statute § 14-54.1, it is a Class G felony if an alleged offender wrongfully breaks or enters any building that is a place of religious worship with intent to commit any felony or larceny therein;
  • Preparation to commit burglary or other housebreakings — North Carolina General Statute § 14-55 makes it a Class I felony if an alleged offender is found armed with any dangerous or offensive weapon, with the intent to break or enter a dwelling, or other building whatsoever, and to commit any felony or larceny therein; or is found having in his or her possession, without lawful excuse, any picklock, key, bit, or other implement of housebreaking; or is found in any such building, with intent to commit any felony or larceny therein;
  • Breaking or entering into or breaking out of railroad cars, motor vehicles, trailers, aircraft, boats, or other watercraft — Under North Carolina General Statute § 14-56, it is a Class I felony if an alleged offender, with intent to commit any felony or larceny therein, breaks or enters any railroad car, motor vehicle, trailer, aircraft, boat, or other watercraft of any kind, containing any goods, wares, freight, or other thing of value, or, after having committed any felony or larceny therein, breaks out of any railroad car, motor vehicle, trailer, aircraft, boat, or other watercraft of any kind containing any goods, wares, freight, or other thing of value;
  • Breaking into or forcibly opening coin-or currency-operated machines — North Carolina General Statute § 14-56.1 makes first offenses involving forcibly breaking into, or by the unauthorized use of a key or other instrument opening, any coin-or currency-operated machine with intent to steal any property or money therein a Class 1 misdemeanor. Subsequent convictions are classified as Class I felony offenses;
  • Damaging or destroying coin-or currency-operated machines — Under North Carolina General Statute § 14-56.2, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor if an alleged offender willfully and maliciously damages or destroys any coin-or currency-operated machine;
  • Breaking into paper currency machines — North Carolina General Statute § 14-56.3 makes any first offense involving person, who with intent to steal any money therein forcibly breaks into any vending or dispensing machine or device which is operated or activated by the use, deposit or insertion of United States paper currency a Class 1 misdemeanor. Subsequent convictions are classified as Class I felony offenses;
  • Preparation to commit breaking or entering into motor vehicles — Under North Carolina General Statute § 14-56.4, a first offense involving an alleged offender possessing any motor vehicle master key, manipulative key, or other motor vehicle lock-picking device or hot wiring device, with the intent to commit any felony, larceny, or unauthorized use of a motor propelled conveyance, or willfully buying, selling, or transferring a motor vehicle master key, manipulative key or device, key-cutting device, lock pick or lock-picking device, or hot wiring device, designed to open or capable of opening the door or trunk of any motor vehicle or of starting the engine of a motor vehicle for use in any prohibited manner a Class 1 misdemeanor. Subsequent convictions are classified as Class I felony offenses; and
  • Burglary with explosives — North Carolina General Statute § 14-57 makes it a Class D felony if an alleged offender, with intent to commit any felony or larceny therein, breaks and enters, either by day or by night, any building, whether inhabited or not, and opens or attempts to open any vault, safe, or other secure place by use of nitroglycerine, dynamite, gunpowder, or any other explosive, or acetylene torch.

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Burglary Penalties in Raleigh

Under North Carolina’s “structured sentencing” method of punishing criminals, both the nature of people’s alleged crimes and also their prior criminal records impact the sentences they receive if convicted. Structured sentencing allows judges to impose one of three types of punishment: An active punishment requires an alleged offender to be incarcerated in the state prison system, an intermediate punishment requires a sentence of supervised probation in addition to other possible conditions, and a community punishment is any sentence other than an active punishment.

In misdemeanor cases, the criminal records of alleged offenders will lead to them either being classified as Prior Conviction Level I if they have no prior convictions, Prior Conviction Level II if they have one to four prior convictions, or Prior Conviction Level III if they have five or more prior convictions. All of the burglary-related offenses listed above are classified as Class 1 misdemeanors, and convictions can be punishable as follows:

  • Prior Conviction Level I — Community punishment of up to 45 days;
  • Prior Conviction Level II — Community, intermediate, or active punishment of up to 45 days; or
  • Prior Conviction Level III — Community, intermediate, or active punishment of up to 120 days.

In felony cases, there are six different prior record levels that alleged offenders may be classified under depending how many points they are assigned based on their criminal records. Felony offenses are also broken up into three different punishment ranges: a mitigated range is used for cases with mitigating factors, an aggravated range is used for cases with aggravating factors, and a presumptive range is used for cases with an equal amount of or no mitigating factors and aggravating factors. All felony convictions also carry a mandatory nine-month period of post-supervision release.

The felony burglary offenses listed above are punishable as follows:

 

Prior Record Level I
(0-1 point)

Prior Record Level II
(2-5 points)

Prior Record Level III
(6-9 points)

Prior Record Level IV
(10-13 points)

Prior Record Level V
(14-17 points)

Prior Record Level VI
(18+ points)

Class D

Active

Active

Active

Active

Active

Active

Aggravated

64-80 months

73-92 months

84-105 months

97-121 months

111-139 months

128-160 months

Presumptive

51-64 months

59-73 months

67-84 months

78-97 months

89-111 months

103-128 months

Mitigated

38-51 months

44-59 months

51-67 months

58-78 months

67-89 months

77-103 months

Class G

Active

Active

Active

Active

Active

Active

Aggravated

13-16 months

14-18 months

17-21 months

19-24 months

22-27 months

25-31 months

Presumptive

10-13 months

12-14 months

13-17 months

15-19 months

17-22 months

20-25 months

Mitigated

8-10 months

9-12 months

10-13 months

11-15 months

13-17 months

15-20 months

Class H

Community, Intermediate, or Active

Intermediate or Active

Intermediate or Active

Intermediate or Active

Intermediate or Active

Active

Aggravated

6-8 months

8-10 months

10-12 months

11-14 months

15-19 months

20-25 months

Presumptive

5-6 months

6-8 months

8-10 months

9-11 months

12-15 months

16-20 months

Mitigated

4-5 months

4-6 months

6-8 months

7-9 months

9-12 months

12-16 months

Class I

Community

Community or Intermediate

Intermediate

Intermediate or Active

Intermediate or Active

Intermediate or Active

Aggravated

6-8 months

6-8 months

6-8 months

8-10 months

9-11 months

10-12 months

Presumptive

4-6 months

4-6 months

5-6 months

6-8 months

7-9 months

8-10 months

Mitigated

3-4 months

3-4 months

4-5 months

4-6 months

5-7 months

6-8 months


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North Carolina Resources for Burglary Offenses

North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NC DPS) | Burglary Prevention — The DPS oversees many of North Carolina’s law enforcement, adult correction, juvenile justice, and emergency management functions. On this section of its website, you can find a lengthy list of tips to help prevent possible burglaries. You can also find tips relating to prevention of other theft crimes.

North Carolina Department of Public Safety
512 North Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27604
(919) 733-2126

Raleigh, NC Crime Map | SpotCrime — SpotCrime aggregates crime data using information from police departments, news reports, and user-generated content, then maps the criminal incidents, plots them on Google Maps, and delivers alerts via various platforms. You can view recent burglary arrests in Raleigh as well as theft, robbery, assault, and arson offenses. The website also publishes a list of the most recent crimes below the map.


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The Coolidge Law Firm | Raleigh Burglary Defense Lawyer

If you believe that you might be under investigation or you were arrested in the Research Triangle for an alleged burglary, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation as soon as possible. The Coolidge Law Firm aggressively defends people accused of burglary in communities throughout Wake County, including Morrisville, Knightdale, Wendell, Zebulon, Rolesville, Fuquay-Varina, and many others.

Raleigh criminal defense attorney David Coolidge also represents students at such local higher learning institutions as North Carolina State University (NCSU), Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), and Shaw University. You can the attorneys at Coolidge Law Firm provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (919) 239-8448 or submit an online contact form today to schedule a free initial consultation.


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