Burglary in New Jersey
Burglary is among the most misunderstood offenses outlined in the New Jersey Criminal Code, often defying expectations with the diverse situations that may give rise to these charges. For example, one common misconception regarding the burglary is that the person charged must have committed an actual theft offense. In fact, you can be charged with burglary for simply entering or remaining in a structure or facility with the supposed intent to commit a theft. Essentially, your unlawful presence on the premises can result in felony charges for burglary if the State believes that you intended to commit a theft there. With this in mind, it is not surprising that burglary charges can be confused with, or issued in addition to, charges for trespassing or criminal mischief. Regardless of the specific circumstances that give rise to the charges, it is highly advisable to consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Burglary Charges in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2
According to section N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2 of the New Jersey Criminal Code, a person is guilty of burglary if, with a purpose to commit an offense therein they:
- Enters a research facility, structure, or a separately secured or occupied portion thereof unless the structure was at the time open to the public or the actor is licensed or privileged to enter; or
- Surreptitiously remains in a research facility, structure, or a separately secured or occupied portion thereof knowing that they are not licensed or privileged to do so.
Burglary is a crime of the second degree if in the course of committing the offense, the actor:
- Purposely, knowingly or recklessly inflicts, attempts to inflict or threatens to inflict bodily injury on anyone; or
- Is armed with or displays what appear to be explosives or a deadly weapon.
Otherwise, burglary is a crime of the third degree.
Penalties for Burglary in NJ
As explained above, burglary is typically a third-degree felony. However, these charges are elevated to second-degree crimes if the defendant allegedly injures or attempts to injure someone or is armed with a weapon during the commission of the alleged offense. The penalties for burglary in each degree include the following:
- Second Degree Burglary: punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 5 to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison; also governed by the No Early Release Act (NERA), which requires the defendant to serve 85% of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for parole.
- Third Degree Burglary: punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 3 to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison.
If you or someone you love has been charged with burglary, finding a legal advocate can be the most important step toward achieving a successful outcome. Contact their office to speak with them today.
Facing Burglary Charges?
Breslow Law Offices have over 45 years of experience in the New Jersey justice system. They are committed to utilizing their substantial body of knowledge to defend their clients who face criminal charges in Essex County and across the State. To speak with an attorney at Breslow Law Offices free of charge about your case, contact their office anytime.