Lock Your Doors In Whiteville

Columbus County has a burglary rate more than twice the state average and nearly four times the national average.


According to the FBI, over 1.7 million burglaries occur in the United States each year, and about 75 percent of them are residential burglaries. Curiously, only slightly more than half involve forced entry, meaning that invited guests are responsible for a large portion of these incidents. In addition to property loss, many victims experience fear and anxiety for months or even years after the burglary. The burglary rate in Columbus County (1,959 events per 100,000 people) is the third highest in the country, trailing only Washington County in Mississippi (2,088 per 100,000) and Sumter County in Georgia (2,197 per 100,000).


The government defines “burglary” as unlawful entry with the intent to commit a felony or theft.


Burglary Offenses


North Carolina has a number of different laws in this area; primarily, they vary based on the type of structure entered and the unlawful purpose for such entry. Some of these provisions include:


  • Residential Burglary: North Carolina still uses the common-law definition of breaking and entering with intention to commit theft or a felony. The offense is first degree burglary if the dwelling is occupied and second degree burglary if it is vacant at the time.


  • Commercial Burglary: Merely breaking and entering a building, like a squatter in an apartment unit, is not as serious as breaking and entering for a felonious purpose. Breaking into a place of worship is punished severely.


  • Trespass: This offense is entering a prohibited area without permission or remaining after the owner has told the actor to leave. First degree trespass is an offense that takes place at a utility company or at the residence of a former spouse; the latter instance is a form of domestic violence.


  • Vending Machines: Breaking into any coin-operated machine or vending device is also considered burglary, either by force or by taking the key without permission. Change machines also fall into this category.


  • Burglary Tools: Possession of lockpicks and other devices, especially if coupled with firearm or weapons possession, is a separate offense.


Punishment generally ranges from Class H felony (four to 25 months in prison) to Class D felony (38 to 160 months).


Burglary Defenses


Many times, the best defense to a burglary charge is in the highly detailed nature of the burglary laws. For example, many structures are mixed commercial and residential buildings, and these offenses are nearly always charged as residential burglaries.


Furthermore, burglary is a specific intent crime, because a simple showing of unlawful intent will not suffice. Therefore, voluntary intoxication may be a defense, if it prevents the defendant from forming the requisite mental state.


Contact Assertive Criminal Defense Attorneys


At Remington & Dixon, PLLC, we do not accept anything less than the best possible result under the circumstances. Call our Charlotte, NC criminal defense attorneys today for effective representation.



Are consultations free?

While we offer a free consultation on traffic matters, criminal matters, and most professional license defense cases, we charge a fee for family law consultations to personalize our consultations to your specific needs. To learn about our fee structure, please get in touch.

Where can I get legal advice?

We recommend meeting with an attorney. While there is free legal help available for North Carolina residents from pro bono resources for civil matters, and public defenders for criminal cases, the best way to access tailored advice is to hire a lawyer.

Can I hire you if I’m in another state?

This is done on a case by case basis if you are involved in a family law, criminal, or professional disciplinary matter that involves another jurisdiction.



"*" indicates required fields

With a Consultation

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.