A criminal conviction can make it difficult to find housing, land a good job and perform any number of other necessary actions in your life. It’s important to work with a criminal defense lawyer who has a track record of success when it comes to handling breaking and entering cases.
Is breaking and entering a felony?
Breaking and entering is using force to enter a vehicle or building without permission. This is different from burglary, which is forcibly entering a structure with the intent to commit some type of crime, and usually classified as a felony.
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Breaking and entering charges are usually considered a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, the state of North Carolina does have some exceptions. It is considered a felony if someone breaks into a building with the intent to steal property, commit a felony or terrorize the occupants of the building. This is known as felonious breaking and entering.
Breaking and entering a church, mosque, synagogue or other place of worship is also considered a felony.
Whether you are charged with misdemeanor breaking and entering or felonious breaking and entering, the first thing you should do is consult a criminal defense lawyer who has experience defending clients who are facing breaking and entering charges.
Penalties for a breaking and entering conviction
The penalties for this type of offense depend on whether it is charged as a misdemeanor or felony. A conviction for misdemeanor breaking and entering is punishable by up to 120 days in jail, while someone convicted of felonious breaking and entering may spend up to 25 months in jail.
However, an experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to reduce the amount of time you spend in jail or help you avoid jail entirely.
How can a criminal defense lawyer help if you have been charged with breaking and entering?
There are several defenses that a criminal defense lawyer can discuss with you, depending on your story of the incident. For example, consent is an issue. If the property owner consented to your presence, the incident can’t be classified as breaking and entering.
Another common occurrence mistaken for breaking an entering is when a person has to forcefully enter their own home after locking themselves out, and then a neighbor calls the police. If this was your case, it is not breaking and entering since you own the property in question.
Other defenses may include mistaken identity, intoxication, and other standard criminal defenses.
There are several ways a criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid breaking and entering charges, but you need to contact one as soon as possible. If you are arrested and booked into jail, a criminal defense lawyer can make bail arrangements on your behalf. A criminal defense lawyer can also appear during your arraignment, which is when you will have the opportunity to enter a plea.
If the state does not have enough evidence, or law enforcement officers violated your rights in some way, your criminal defense lawyer may be able to have the charges dismissed. If the prosecutor will not drop the charges entirely, it may be possible for your criminal defense lawyer to negotiate a plea bargain on your behalf. If you make a plea bargain, you agree to plead guilty to a charge if the prosecution agrees to give you something in return.
You should never attempt to negotiate a plea bargain on your own. A criminal defense lawyer has the experience and knowledge needed to make the best decisions at this stage of the process.
The prospect of going to court is a scary one, especially if this is the first time you have ever been charged with a crime. Before your case goes to trial, your criminal defense lawyer will tell you what to expect. Once the trial begins, your criminal defense lawyer can let you know what is happening during hearings and legal conferences. The defense lawyers at Wilson, Reives & Silverman have 50 years of combined experience representing people accused of breaking and entering, so we will do everything we can to ease your fears.
How much does it cost to speak with a criminal defense lawyer?
If you have been charged with breaking and entering, your first priority should be to find a criminal defense lawyer who has skill handling this type of case. At Wilson, Reives & Silverman, your first consultation with us will cost you absolutely nothing. When you meet with one of our knowledgeable defense lawyers, you’ll have an opportunity to explain what happened in your own words.
Don’t take the risk of going to court alone. If you are facing breaking and entering charges, you need a criminal lawyer who is ready to fight for your rights.