Indian Trail Burglary Lawyer

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Indian Trail Burglary Attorney

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Burglary and other criminal charges related to property crimes and home invasion incidents can carry tremendous weight in North Carolina. Defending against such charges requires the help of an Indian Trail burglary lawyer. The Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick, PLLC, under the leadership of talented and successful Carol Huffman Kendrick, has built a reputation as a formidable ally for those facing allegations of burglary, theft, and related offenses.

When you’re facing criminal charges related to private property crimes in or around the Indian Trail area, going to court alone can prove extremely unwise. State and federal government prosecutors and court officials have powerful resources at their disposal and are happy to employ them to assist in your conviction.

Whether you’re involved in a pickpocketing case or a high-profile armed burglary involving additional assault allegations, our legal team can help you. High-end legal advice and fierce in-court representation from a theft attorney at the Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick, PLLC, can demystify the legal process facing you and steer your case to the optimal outcome.

Understanding Burglary and Other Property Crimes in North Carolina

North Carolina and other states have robust frameworks for defining and punishing various levels of property and home invasion crimes. Understanding the nuances of these definitions and charges can be of paramount importance when attempting to navigate the criminal justice system as a defendant.

Individuals in Indian Trail, NC who find themselves involved in any of the cases below will need the services of a qualified criminal lawyer. When that day comes, the trusted criminal defense team of the Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick, PLLC, is ready to help.

Some of the definitions and specific legal charges related to theft incidents include:

  • Breaking & Entering – While this property crime, in itself, has nothing to do with stealing property, it is often brought to court alongside such charges or sometimes as the result of such charges being lessened via a plea deal.“B & E,” as you may hear it referred to, is a charge levied at an individual who is believed to have unlawfully entered another person’s dwelling or other enclosed private property without permission. They must have done so without the intent to commit a felony or larceny. If someone breaks into a property before burgling it, breaking and entering can be added to their list of charges.
  • Burglary – Somewhat similar to breaking and entering, a burglary charge is for incidents that go a step further. These cases are characterized by an individual breaking into someone else’s residence at night, without consent, and with the specific intent to commit larceny or some other felony.
  • Larceny – Larceny is a serious charge explicitly related to the taking and carrying away of someone else’s personal property without consent. A larceny conviction often hinges on the prosecution being able to prove that the defendant intended to “permanently deprive” the victim of the property in question. For example, misunderstanding what day your neighbor said you could borrow their lawnmower would not qualify as larceny.
  • Shoplifting – Shoplifting is a type of theft charge that specifically refers to retail incidents, although it can take on a variety of forms, such as concealing items under your clothes, altering price tags, or defrauding self-checkout systems. So long as some deliberate attempt to steal merchandise from a retail establishment is made, shoplifting charges may apply.
  • Robbery – An incident meets the definition of robbery when force, intimidation, or threats are used to take someone’s property directly off their person. Armed robbery is a robbery conducted with the aid of a weapon. If a home was burgled while its inhabitants were asleep, robbery charges would not apply.

What Other Charges Are Involved in Burglary Cases?

Oftentimes, being charged in criminal court after a burglary or other property crime does not mean receiving just one of the above charges. Burglary, being a serious and multi-faceted crime, can be convicted along with other charges, including:

  • Aiding and Abetting a Burglary – While some criminals believe that finding others to commit their crimes will protect them in court, this is not the case. Any accomplice who knowingly assists, facilitates, or encourages a burglary can face penalties similar to those of the main offender. For instance, someone who drives another person to burgle a home could be convicted of aiding and abetting a burglary.
  • Conspiracy to Commit Burglary – Any agreement between two or more individuals to commit a burglary is also a crime, regardless of whether the burglary is ever actually carried out. Conspiracy charges are extremely serious and are often used in prosecuting organized crime rings, meaning they can carry a serious social stigma as well as criminal penalties.
  • Possession of Burglary Tools – In North Carolina and other states, the mere possession of common burglary tools like lock picks and pry bars can be a crime in its own right, so long as the prosecution can sufficiently demonstrate that the person in possession of those tools intended to commit a crime.This can bring up a complex legal scenario, where the burglary tools may themselves be used as evidence of intentionality, and yet the tools are only a crime if this intentionality can be established. If you’re accused of possessing burglary tools, a skilled burglary lawyer can be a vital tool in your defense.
  • Armed Burglary – This involves committing a burglary while armed with a weapon. This type of aggravated offense can heighten the severity of the charges received and, in turn, increase the associated sentence. For example, a defendant who used a knife in their burglary might see more jail time than one who used no weapon at all.

How Is Burglary Defined in NC?

There are many individual components that must be present for an incident to meet the legal definition of burglary in North Carolina:

  1. The accused must not have the consent of the property owner or resident to enter the premises.
  2. The accused must have demonstrably broken onto the premises. This means that, for example, stealing from a roommate in your own house by way of an open bedroom door would not meet the definition of a burglary.
  3. The accused, after “breaking” in—such as by destroying a lock, gate, or window—must then proceed to use that breach to enter the premises. Therefore, merely damaging a window or door in a way that could be used to enter a property, but then not using that entrance or taking anything, would constitute destruction of property rather than burglary or breaking and entering.
  4. The accused must have done all of the above with the intention of committing either larceny or any felony-level crime.
  5. For a first-degree burglary, the premises in question must typically be the victim’s dwelling or contain the victim’s sleeping quarters. This means that stealing from an outbuilding not connected to the victim’s actual home should not usually be considered a first-degree burglary under the law. Certain second-degree burglary charges may involve an outbuilding or a completely non-residential location like a store, depending on the specific circumstances.A first-degree burglary charge, however, must typically involve a building that contains some sort of sleeping quarters or is directly adjacent to a residence. Be aware, also, that the scene of the crime need not be the victim’s own private property or primary residence to qualify as a burglary. Any rightfully occupied dwelling, even short-term rentals, can be burgled by legal definition.
  6. Notably, the law also dictates that the premises must be someone else’s residence. This effectively means you cannot be charged with burgling your own home, no matter how much destruction or theft occurs.
  7. To specifically qualify as a first-degree burglary, the premises must also be occupied. This means that breaking in to steal from an empty house, even if it is someone’s primary day-to-day residence, does not qualify as first-degree burglary but may still qualify as burglary in the second degree in North Carolina.
  8. The incident must occur at night. This often overlooked aspect of North Carolina property crime law means that a crime that is, in all other aspects, a burglary cannot be charged as such if it occurs in broad daylight.

It’s vitally important to understand all of these components. If one happens to be questionable or completely lacking in your case, your criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick, PLLC, may be able to use that fact to get the criminal charges dropped or reduced.

NC Burglary: Charges, Degrees, and Maximum Sentences

There are two distinct levels or “degrees” of burglary charges possible in North Carolina. This dichotomy was created to provide more flexibility in sentencing and is intended to ensure appropriate punishments are given based on the impact of crimes committed. A first-degree conviction will result in more severe punishments, while a second-degree conviction will warrant less extreme consequences.

The two levels of burglary charges possible in North Carolina are:

  • First-Degree Burglary – In North Carolina, a first-degree burglary occurs when an individual, unlawfully and unwelcomed, enters another person’s occupied residence under cover of night with the intent to either steal something or commit some additional felony. This is considered among the most serious of all property crimes under North Carolina law.
    • Class D felony offense
    • Maximum incarceration up to 204 months (17 years)
    • Example: An individual sneaks onto someone’s property at 2:00 in the morning while the homeowner and other residents are inside the house sleeping. The perpetrator then approaches the home, breaks a glass door to the back porch using a rock, and proceeds to enter the home, brandishing a knife.Crucially, they have done all of this with the intent to find and steal the homeowner’s renowned collection of antique coins, which they saw on a local social media group the previous day.The homeowner is awoken by the sound of glass breaking and is able to scare the intruder off by activating an alarm system, but the perpetrator’s intentions and their actions up to that point have already constituted a first-degree burglary and an aggravated one at that, due to the presence of a potentially lethal weapon.
    • Example: An individual waits for the neighborhood corner store to close at 9:00 P.M. Once all the lights are off, the perpetrator dons a black ski mask and equips themselves with a semiautomatic pistol. Using a pry bar, they gain entry to the store’s side door.Unbeknownst to them, the shopkeeper and owner of this small business lives in an apartment upstairs of the storefront and never left the property after closing. Hearing the disturbance, the shopkeeper comes down with a weapon of their own, whereupon a brief, non-lethal shootout ensues, and the perpetrator escapes with around $100 in merchandise.Because of the gun, the time of day, the successful execution of a premeditated theft, and the adjacency to someone’s dwelling, this, too, would likely be prosecuted as burglary in the first degree in most North Carolina courtrooms.Incidentally, the shopkeeper would likely be protected from most criminal or civil charges related to their participation in the shootout due to the fact that North Carolina is a “stand your ground” state. This means that residents have a legally enshrined right to protect their homes using extreme measures like firearms.
  • Second-Degree Burglary – Second-degree burglary charges are most often brought when the burgled residence is not occupied at the time of the incident.
    • Class G felony offense
    • Maximum incarceration of up to 47 months (almost four years) for first-time offenders
    • Example: A career criminal “cases” an upper-class neighborhood for several weeks to memorize the vehicles, schedules, and habits of those who live there.When a wealthy family living in a secluded section of the subdivision goes on their annual vacation, the criminal makes their move, entering the home by exploiting weak locks and then making off with thousands of dollars in cash, jewelry, and electronics.While this hypothetical incident did indeed take place in someone’s primary residence at night, these factors would be mitigated by the pivotal fact that the residence was empty, resulting in a probable second-degree burglary charge. In this particular situation, however, the accused’s prior history of criminal activity may affect sentencing.
    • Example: An individual facing desperate financial circumstances recalls that their former employer, a small town sporting goods store, uses a vintage mechanical cash register that never gets locked due to a lost key. They happen to know that cash is held in the register until every Thursday morning when the owner makes a weekly deposit.The store closes at 5:30 P.M. on Wednesday, so the perpetrator waits another hour and then breaks in by damaging and removing part of a rear window. They leave with several hundreds of dollars in cash, three high-end fishing reels, and a file folder of customer financial information that could be used or sold for identity theft purposes.This is a fairly serious heist, but since the store is not a residence and the incident took place between night and day, it would likely be prosecuted as a second-degree burglary or some combination of other charges.

It’s important to remember that every case is unique, and the classification of burglary charges or the use of other charges altogether depends on specific circumstances, the defendant’s intentions, the presence or absence of occupants, and—sometimes more than any other factor—the quality and quantity of the evidence available to the prosecution. If the prosecution cannot prove all the elements of a first-degree burglary, your charges may be reduced to second-degree burglary.

While the law provides a clear and comprehensive framework for charging and sentencing perpetrators, the distinction between first and second-degree burglary or between burglary and other crimes can nonetheless prove subtle at times. These distinctions often hinge on details like the precise time of entry, the nature of the building involved, or the state’s faith in its own ability to prove a perpetrator’s intent.

When Are Burglary and Theft Charged at a Federal Level?

Understanding North Carolina law is important, but in certain unique situations, burglary charges can also be tried on a federal level, where the potential consequences of conviction can become even more severe. Some of the situations in which federal authorities might take over a burglary case include:

  • Maritime Jurisdiction – Those who take items that don’t belong to them using force, violence, or intimidation within the special maritime jurisdiction of the United States government may be subject to up to 15 years in federal prison.
  • Bank Robberies and Related Crimes – Bank robberies are an extremely high-profile type of property crime case, and that’s why federal authorities are given jurisdiction over them.
  • Burglaries and Robberies at Pharmacies or Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Facilities – Federal agents can get involved when a burglary or theft involves the taking of controlled substances.
  • Mail, Money, or Other Property of the United States – While it’s not a likely outcome for smaller stakes burglary cases, you may note that this technically means any burglary involving cash could be prosecuted as a federal crime, being that currency is an instrument produced and sanctioned by the United States federal government.Unopened mail is another example of an everyday item subject to burglary that people may fail to recognize as federal property. This needs to be taken seriously, as the burgling of United States property can be punished by up to 25 years in a federal detention facility.
  • Motor Vehicle Shipments – Another situation in which a robbery can become a federal crime involves the taking of automobiles that are being shipped or otherwise transported over state or international lines.
  • Personal Property of the United States – 15 years of federal imprisonment is possible for anyone who takes “the personal property of the United States.” The definition of what constitutes the United States’ “personal property” is complex and will not be relevant to the vast majority of burglary cases occurring in North Carolina.

Working With a Top Indian Trail, NC Burglary Criminal Defense Attorney

When confronted with burglary, theft, or home invasion charges in Indian Trail, NC, or the surrounding areas, your choice of a defense attorney can mean the difference between a challenging legal battle and a favorable outcome. The Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick, PLLC, brings over half a century of courtroom success to the field of criminal defense and applies it to each of our client’s cases with unwavering dedication.

We know that burglary cases demand a nuanced and personalized approach. Effectively navigating these high-stakes cases requires a thorough understanding of North Carolina laws, and a great working relationship with local court officials can also help streamline the process.

From helping to drop charges to proving clients’ innocence in a court of law, the Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick, PLLC, has the in-depth knowledge, world-class legal training, and strategic mindset to build the defense you need to overcome this challenging period in your life on the greatest possible terms. Our legal team can be the key to an optimal outcome.

A skilled criminal defense lawyer from the Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick, PLLC, can help you:

  • Fully understand the charges being brought against you.
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive defense strategy tailored to your unique circumstances.
  • Hold law enforcement officers and court officials accountable, ensuring the correct legal procedures are adhered to at all times.
  • Gather quality evidence and testimony in your favor and use it to build an airtight defense strategy.
  • Effectively advocate for your rights throughout every phase of proceedings.

The Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick, PLLC: Protecting Your Rights During Indian Trail, NC, Burglary Proceedings

From the moment you face criminal accusations, your rights require vigilant protection. This is especially true in serious, high-profile cases like home invasions and first-degree burglaries. The Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick, PLLC, led by Carol Huffman Kendrick and anchored by her superb reputation throughout North Carolina, can meticulously review and analyze every detail of your case to build the strongest possible defense.

We can help you mitigate the potential consequences of a burglary charge to minimize its effects on your future. Please reach out to our offices today for a confidential, no-pressure consultation.