While the nation celebrates an overall decline in burglary crimes, Greensboro numbers seem to be climbing. Here, not only are home burglaries becoming more common; burglary rates are increasing at an alarming pace.
Burglaries in the city have reportedly increased by more than 20 percent between 2018 to 2019. As a result, you can be certain that law enforcement officials are sitting up and taking notice.
With technology like doorbell cameras, home surveillance systems, and even evidence from Alexa and Google Home, you can bet it’s going to be easier than ever to prosecute burglars, as well.
Here’s how burglary laws work here in North Carolina…
A Breakdown on Break-Ins According to North Carolina Law
In North Carolina, burglary is a relatively broad crime. You commit burglary when you break into a building while intending to commit another crime.
Most frequently, that second crime is theft, but it could be something else like vandalism or stalking. In any case, whether or not a second crime actually takes place is irrelevant; what matters is a burglar’s intent.
North Carolina Burglaries are Divided into Two Degrees
Burglary is divided into two “degrees,” or levels of severity. A second-degree burglary charge is considered the lesser of the two and covers burglary crimes committed in an unoccupied building. When no person was at risk during the commission of a burglary crime, it is not penalized as harshly.
On the other hand, if you land a first-degree burglary charge, it means you burglarized a property while someone else was there. Because you have put another occupant at risk of harm, the state punishes an otherwise identical crime more stringently.
Robbery Is a Completely Separate Theft Crime from Burglary
If you threaten or actually harm someone while during a home invasion, then you have committed a robbery. In North Carolina, that’s considered a different crime. The penalties associated with it are different from those associated with burglary.
Caught Before You Actually Broke In? You Can Still Be Charged with a Crime
You can also receive charges for preparing to commit a burglary. This is its own felony, so even if you never break-in, you might be charged. You can receive a charge of “preparation to commit burglary” if you’re found armed and intending to break in, owning lockpicks, or found in a building where you should not be.
Penalties Vary Based on Classification of Your NC Burglary Crime
First- and second-degree burglaries have different legal classifications. Each felony-level has a set penalty range in North Carolina. Where you fall in that range depends on your prior criminal history and facts of the crime.
Generally, as crimes become worse, the state punishes convictions more harshly, as both retribution and dissuasion. First-degree burglaries are considered Class D felony charges, and second-degree burglary is a Class G felony.
- Class G felonies have a guaranteed sentence range between 8 and 31 months in jail.
- Class D felonies have a penalty range between 3 and 13 years.
The exact amount of time is decided by the judge and the North Carolina classification system. Furthermore, both of these felonies have points associated with them.
Your Criminal History and North Carolina’s Point System
These points affect future sentencing because they indicate how “risky” you are to the general public. The more points on your record, the stricter future sentences will be. This can quickly add up to spending a serious amount of time in jail.
Experienced North Carolina Legal Counsel Can Help
Burglary is a serious charge and can lead to lifelong consequences. To avoid jail time and the status of “felon,” anyone charged with burglary should seek experienced North Carolina legal counsel immediately. An experienced attorney can help navigate confusing laws, and defend their clients against unfair accusations.
In the meantime, should you have any questions on burglary charges, your criminal history, or North Carolina’s penalty point system, reach out!