What is the difference between burglary and breaking and entering?

While it is an obvious crime to enter the property of another person without permission in North Carolina, many people may wonder what crime it is exactly. Two specific crimes usually come up when there is an incident where someone enters someone else’s property. These are burglary and breaking and entering. While the may seem interchangeable, there is a difference between the two.

The North Carolina General Assembly explains breaking and entering is a crime where someone enters a building illegally. It also includes breaking out of a building when committing burglary or any burglary crime in the first or second degree. So, essentially, breaking and entering includes burglary but not all burglary charges are breaking and entering.

This is where the main distinction comes into play. The North Carolina Bureau of Investigation states that to be burglary, a crime does not require breaking into a building. In addition, burglary requires entering the building with the intent to commit a felony or theft crime.

Breaking and entering does not always require the intent to do something illegal when entering a building. However, it does require breaking in to get entry. Burglary does require the intent of an additional criminal act and does not require breaking in.

It can be confusing because this means that sometimes burglary is breaking and entering, and sometimes breaking and entering is also burglary. It often comes down to the details of the situation as to which one the prosecution decides to charge a person with.