Is lack of consent an element of burglary? This post arises from a conversation I had with a colleague who asserted that the homeowner’s consent could legitimize an entry that would otherwise constitute a burglary. Insofar as a defendant might introduce evidence at trial to establish a lawful entry, that’s certainly correct. But does the State affirmatively have to allege and prove a lack of consent? One of the nine common law felonies, burglary was defined as breaking and entering the dwelling house of another at night with the intent to commit a felony therein. 4 Bl. *224. North Carolina statute divides the crime into degrees – it’s first-degree if the home is occupied – but otherwise retains the common law definition. N.C.G.S. § 14-51. Whatever the State might now have to prove at trial to obtain a conviction, the common law elements did not explicitly include a lack of consent. This post explores the issue of consent in our criminal law and attempts to determine how consent operates to prove or disprove a burglary.