North Carolina Criminal Law 14-54: Felonious Breaking or Entering
The 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Other related crimes and offenses include:
- North Carolina Criminal Law 14-51: Burglary
- North Carolina Criminal Law 14-56: Breaking or Entering Into a Motor Vehicle
- North Carolina Criminal Law 14-72(A): Felonious Larceny - Goods Worth More Than $1,000
- North Carolina Criminal Law 14-72(b)(4): Felony Larceny of a Firearm
- North Carolina Pattern Jury Instruction – Felonious Breaking or Entering
A Defendant can challenge the crime of Felonious Breaking or Entering with these common defenses:
- Consent by the property owner for the entry
- Lack of intent to commit a felony at the time of entry; or,
- Mistake of fact.
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
- Civil judgment for damages
- Community service
- Supervised and unsupervised probation
If 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.
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Attorney Bill Powers and Attorney Megan Powell are licensed only in North Carolina. Attorney Chris Beddow is licensed in both North Carolina and South Carolina.