Many people wrongly assume that when someone has been accused of burglary in North Carolina, the charges automatically include theft. Defendants who are charged with breaking and entering but did not take any items off the premises should understand what the different terms mean to mount a proper defense.
The legal definition of burglary
Burglary and breaking and entering are crimes that involve the unlawful entering of a property, home or business with the intent to commit another crime while there. The perpetrator may intend to commit theft, but actual theft may not have occurred depending on the circumstances. Burglary can also occur in conjunction with the intent to kidnap someone while on the premises, which does not fall under the definition of theft. Thus, theft does not always accompany burglary charges.
The law recognizes two types of theft: petty theft, where the value of items taken falls under a certain threshold, and grand theft, where the value of goods or money taken is above the threshold. Theft changes to robbery when the use of force is involved. For example, if a perpetrator demands money or goods while wielding a handgun, a knife or another weapon, the court will view it as robbery.
What happens if you are wrongly accused?
If you have been wrongly accused of theft as part of a criminal charge for breaking and entering, you should gather evidence that indicates you did not commit theft while on the premises. Having such evidence is crucial for your defense.
A smart course of action is to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. A knowledgeable legal professional may work to prove that you were not responsible for the theft in order to get the charges reduced or even dropped.