Justia Lawyer Rating
Best Lawyer
Super Lawyer - Top 100
Super Lawyer - Top 100
Best Lawyers
Avvo Rating 10.0
AV Preeminent
The National Trial Lawyers
The Best Lawyers in America
Advocates for Justice
Business North Carolina Legal Elite - 2023
DUI Defense
*For additional information regarding the criterion for inclusion or membership for lawyer associations, awards, & certifications click image for link.

North Carolina Criminal Law 14-54: Felonious Breaking or Entering

1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

Breaking or EnteringThe crime of Felonious Breaking or Entering under North Carolina Criminal Law 14-54 is a felony criminal offense characterized by a defendant, breaking or entering into a building that belongs to another person, without their consent, with the intention of committing a felony offense.

To prove a defendant committed the crime of Felonious Breaking or Entering, the prosecutor must establish the following prima facie elements of the crime Beyond a Reasonable Doubt:

  • There was a breaking by the defendant or entry by the defendant
  • The place the defendant entered/broke into was, in fact, a building
  • That the defendant was not given consent by the owner/tenant
  • That the defendant was intending to commit a felony at the time the breaking/entering occurred.

“Breaking” does not always mean actual breaking (i.e. physically removing barriers like breaking a window).

Breaking can also be constructive, meaning it is still considered a breaking if the defendant entered a building by threat, force, trick, or fraudulent representation that caused another person to allow the defendant to enter.

“Entry” simply means that the defendant entered the building.

The “Building” that is entered can be any uninhabited house, dwelling, actual building or any structure that is made to ensure the property within remains secure.

2. Examples of Felonious Breaking or Entering a Building
  1. The defendant enters a warehouse from an unlocked side door in order to steal valuable machinery. The Defendant may be charged with Felonious Breaking or Entering, a Class H Felony Offense.
  2. The defendant works for an appliance repair company. While repairing appliances for a business, the defendant notices a drawer filled with valuable jewelry. After all employees leave the business, the defendant climbs through a window and steals the jewelry. The Defendant may be charged with Felonious Breaking or Entering, a Class H Felony Offense.
  3. The defendant notices a large tv box in their neighbor’s trash can. The defendant knows that the neighbors go on vacation after the holidays. After the neighbors leave town, the defendant breaks into the neighbor’s home and steals the TV. The Defendant may be charged with Felonious Breaking or Entering, a Class H Felony Offense.
3. Related Offenses

Other related crimes and offenses include:

  1. North Carolina Criminal Law 14-51: Burglary
  2. North Carolina Criminal Law 14-56: Breaking or Entering Into a Motor Vehicle
  3. North Carolina Criminal Law 14-72(A): Felonious Larceny - Goods Worth More Than $1,000
  4. North Carolina Criminal Law 14-72(b)(4): Felony Larceny of a Firearm
  5. North Carolina Pattern Jury Instruction – Felonious Breaking or Entering
4. Defenses to Felonious Breaking or Entering

A Defendant can challenge the crime of Felonious Breaking or Entering with these common defenses:

  1. Consent by the property owner for the entry
  2. Lack of intent to commit a felony at the time of entry; or,
  3. Mistake of fact.
5. Penalties

Under North Carolina Criminal Law 14-54: Felonious Breaking or Entering Buildings generally is a Class H Felony, allowing for a maximum period of incarceration of up to 39 months. The Felony Punishment Chart provides for Active, Intermediate, and Suspended punishments.

Additional terms and conditions punishment may include:

  • Enrollment into and completion of a cognitive behavioral program
  • Costs of Court
  • Restitution
  • Civil judgment for damages
  • Fines
  • Community service
  • Supervised and unsupervised probation
6. Criminal Defense for Breaking or Entering Cases

Felony Breaking or EnteringIf you have been charged or arrested for Felony Breaking or Entering, contact a defense attorney without delay. These types charges carry consequences to reputation in the community and can have a long-lasting impact on your employment, the ability to rent or purchase a home, and financial prospects.

Our criminal defense attorneys provide legal advice on how to challenge the elements of breaking or entering. We also help guide you through the process.

CALL NOW: 704-342-4357

The Powers Law Firm PA provides free, confidential legal consultations for people accused of criminal charges.

It does not matter if it’s a felony or misdemeanor charge, we strongly recommend you seek legal representation without delay.

Our criminal lawyers are licensed to practice law throughout all of North Carolina, regularly serving as legal counsel in Mecklenburg, Union, Iredell, Rowan, Gaston, and Lincoln County NC.

Attorney Bill Powers is licensed only in North Carolina. Attorney Chris Beddow is licensed in both North Carolina and South Carolina.

Client Reviews
I am so fortunate to have had Bill Powers on my case. Upon our first meeting, Bill insisted that through the emotions of anger, sadness, confusion, and betrayal that I remain resilient. He was available to answer questions with researched, logical, truthful answers throughout our two year stretch together. I went to any lengths for my case because he won my trust almost immediately... J.R.
My daughter had a second DUI and when it all seemed hopeless, Bill was able to get the charges dropped. This is a man who is extremely knowledgeable, yet still keeps his integrity which was impressive to me. He handles himself with dignity. If you hire him, you will have the best of the best, along with his expansive intellect and wisdom about the law. Lisa
Bill Powers’ staff has handled several traffic citations for me over the years, and they exceeded my expectations each and every time. Would highly recommend anyone faced with a traffic citation or court case contact his office and they will handle it from there. M.C.
Bill and his staff are flat out great. I (unfortunately) was a repeat customer after a string of tickets. These guys not only took care of the initial ticket for me, but went the extra mile and reduced my problems from 3 to just 1 (very minor one) on the same day I called back! I would recommend them to anyone. A.R.