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Wilmington Burglary Defense Attorney

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Burglary charges in North Carolina hinge on a traditional legal definition for burglary: breaking and entering into a dwelling at night to commit theft or a felony. In this case, breaking and entering is the use of force to enter a building without permission. “Using force” includes opening an unlocked door or window. Because the definition centers on breaking into “dwellings”—where anyone sleeps or lives—these crimes are also called home invasions.

If the dwelling was occupied when the alleged burglary took place, then it’s considered a “first degree burglary,” which has different sentencing guidelines. If there was no one in the dwelling when the burglary occurred, it’s classified as a second degree burglary.

What the Prosecution Needs to Prove

Burglary includes two crimes in its definition: breaking & entering and theft. Without proof of an intent to commit a crime, the prosecution would only be able to charge a defendant with breaking and entering—a less-serious offense. In some cases, intent to commit theft would be presumed, but a skilled defense attorney might be able to argue an intent other than theft, sparing the defendant months of prison time.

It’s worth noting that breaking and entering into a place of worship is considered a more heinous crime, and it is punished the same as second degree burglary—a Class G felony (more on that below). Burglary applies to vehicles and non-dwelling structures (albeit differently).

The Penalties for Burglary in North Carolina

  • First degree burglary: Class D felony—38-160 months prison
  • Burglary with explosives: Class D felony—38-160 months prison
  • Second degree burglary: Class G felony—8-31 months prison
  • B&E of a Place of Worship: Class G felony—8-31 months prison
  • Burglary of vehicle: Class I felony—3-12 months prison
  • Entering a building to steal or commit a crime: Class H felony—4-25 months’ prison
  • B&E: Class 1 misdemeanor—1-120 days of jail and a fine
  • Second offense of any burglary crime: 15-36 months minimum

How James Rutherford, Attorney at Law Can Help

For over 19 years, our Wilmington criminal defense attorney has devoted his practice to protecting your rights. He has helped countless clients make favorable deals, win acquittals, or get case dismissals outright. He ensures that each client receives the best possible defense for their case. As a board certified criminal defense specialist, Attorney Rutherford has demonstrated his rare talent for defense litigation again and again.

No matter the case being built against you, every person deserves to have a strong defender in their corner. We can build a case on your behalf that could spare you from spending months or years in prison. Don’t hesitate—reach out to our firm as soon as possible. One free, no-obligation consultation can give you the answers you need.

If you’ve been charged with burglary, we want to help. Call (910) 595-1377 or contact us online for a free case consultation with an award-winning criminal defense lawyer.

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