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Does burglary always involve theft?

On Behalf of | Jun 15, 2021 | Other Criminal Offenses

Images associated with burglary often involve someone illegally entering a North Carolina home and then exiting with stolen items. While many burglary incidents involve theft, they reflect two separate crimes. Therefore, burglary could occur even when theft does not. However, a suspect would likely face additional charges when committing a burglary.

The crime of burglary

Burglary refers to a specific crime that involves illegally entering a house, apartment, business, or another property to commit another crime. People charged with burglary often face theft charges because they broke into a home with the intent to steal. However, a person need not necessarily steal anything to face burglary charges. The police could arrest someone just as the suspect enters through a window, but before he or she stole anything.

The accused may have no intention of stealing to face burglary charges. Instead, the intent to commit another crime could center on assault, robbery, kidnapping, and more. Assault & violent crimes often coincide with burglary in situations where the criminal surprises a homeowner.

The distinction between theft and robbery bears mentioning. Theft charges focus on someone taking property that belongs to someone else. Robbery involves making someone hand over property under the threat of violence. Conceivably, one incident may lead to charges of burglary, theft, and robbery.

Defenses to charges

There are several ways to address burglary charges. For someone permitted to enter a property, burglary charges would seem dubious. The same would be true of a property owner forced to break a window after being locked out.

Also, if the suspect had no intention of committing any crime other than entering without permission, breaking and entering would be the appropriate charge.