Would entering an occupied home lead to burglary charges?

On Behalf of | Sep 9, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

Prying open a window and entering someone else’s property without permission could land someone into significant legal trouble. The accused might face charges of burglary and breaking-in in a North Carolina criminal court. Such charges could stick even when the defendant entered an occupied structure but did not steal anything nor had any intention to steal.

Burglary charges and the intent to commit a crime

Burglary involves entering a structure with the intention to commit a crime. When entering an occupied structure, the intended crime could involve assault or harassment. Any physical altercation with the occupant may lead to more severe charges.

Often, breaking and entering actions precede burglary. Most people understand breaking and entering to involve physical activity, such as prying open a window or door. However, breaking and entering may include “constructive” actions, such as threatening someone. For example, threatening to burn down a house unless the occupant opens the door could support burglary and breaking and entering charges.

Dealing with the criminal justice system

Although an individual faces burglary charges, they may be innocent. A property’s occupant could claim that the defendant made threats to gain entry and then committed an assault. Eyewitness testimony and other evidence may suggest that the person had permission to enter, and the occupant assaulted the accused person, who responded with justifiable self-defense.

Sometimes, the circumstances surrounding the charges might be ambiguous or confusing. Guilt requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and the prosecutor might not be able to deliver that level of evidence.

Defendants might feel concerned about both the evidence against them and the potential punishment. A plea bargain deal might prove less risky, leading the accused to lean toward an agreement.

Burglary charges could result in serious penalties, especially if accompanied by assault charges. The accused person may consider a plea bargain or jury trial depending on the situation.