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What to Know About Criminal Trespassing in North Carolina

By Joel Hancock

There are few bigger purchases that you will make in life than your home. To own your own property can provide a sense of peace and comfort. But when illegal trespassing is involved, it can turn your safe haven into an uncomfortable place to be. 

North Carolina defines trespassing as intending to enter or stay on a piece of property without permission. It’s important to note that intent is a big part of the law.  That’s why if you’ve been accused of criminal trespassing in North Carolina, a qualified criminal defense attorney can help to prove that you had no intent to be on another’s property. This can be supported through evidence.

Under state law, there are two different types of trespassing, with two different definitions and two different sets of penalties. These types include first- and second-degree trespassing. 

Degrees of Criminal Trespassing in North Carolina

First-degree trespassing is defined as entering and/or staying on a property without permission. This property includes another’s secured or enclosed property that is clearly intended to keep people out (e.g. a fenced-in yard). 

Second-degree trespassing usually follows a first-degree offense. In other words, this type of trespassing is an elevated form of the first. For instance, this may include a situation in which someone goes breaks into a locked building that also displays a “No Trespassing” sign. The type of trespassing an incident is classified as depends upon the facts and circumstances of that specific case. 

 Criminal Trespassing Charges in North Carolina

When someone is charged with first-degree trespassing, it is generally considered a Class 2 misdemeanor, although there are certain aggravating factors that when present may increase the charge. For example, if someone trespasses on a public utility provider’s property with the intent to interrupt operations there. This could be increased to a Class H felony. Should an intruder trespass on the property again after previously being removed from it, the charge could become a Class I felony.

As for second-degree trespassing, it is generally considered a Class 3 misdemeanor. However, depending upon the factors of the case (similar to those with first-degree trespassing), these charges can vary.  

Hancock Law Firm, PLLC Helps Those in North Carolina Who Have Been Charged with a Crime

A criminal conviction in North Carolina can have a very long-lasting impact on your life. Not only can it affect your ability to obtain or keep certain jobs, but also it can have a permanent impact on your reputation. That’s why it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. 

At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we fully understand what is at stake and will do everything that we can to help you fight these charges and obtain the best possible outcome for you. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

About the Author
Joel Hancock is a native of Carteret County, NC. He devotes 100% of his practice to defending those accused of traffic infractions, DWI, misdemeanors, and felonies in Carteret County, NC.