Conviction for burglary charges in NJ can carry severe, life-altering consequences. Depending upon your actions, you may face second or third-degree charges, which both carry stiff penalties. If you are facing burglary charges in New Jersey, continue reading to find out how you can fight those charges.

What is Considered Burglary in NJ?

The state of New Jersey defines burglary as entering or remaining in a research facility or structure without any permission and with intent to commit a crime. In addition, burglary can also be trespassing onto utility company property with “No Trespassing” signs or closed fences with intent to commit a crime.

How Does NJ Define Structures?

In New Jersey, a structure is defined as a building, room, vehicle, airplane, ship, or any other place adapted for business or sleep. Considering that definition, a structure can consist of a garage, storefront, shed, car, truck, boat, tent, yurt, etc.

How Does NJ Define “Without Permission”?

You may only enter a structure that is open to the public during the defined hours of operation. So, for instance, while you may enter a grocery store during normal business hours, you cannot enter the store after it closes at 8:00 pm. Also, if you are not an employee of a business, then you cannot legally enter an attached warehouse, manager’s office, break room, or any other portion of the store that is not open to the public.

Intent to Commit a Crime

The state of New Jersey mandates that in order to convict a defendant of burglary, the prosecution must prove that the defendant had intent to commit a crime inside the structure. For instance, someone entering a vehicle with the intent of joyride can be convicted of burglary. However, because circumstances generally determine an defendant’s illicit intention, the prosecution does not need to establish what exactly was running through the defendant’s mind. For instance, a person can be guilty of burglary if they entered a house with the intent of hiding from law enforcement, since evading police is a crime.

Consequences of Burglary in NJ

Generally, conviction of a third-degree burglary charge in New Jersey can result in a 3 to 5 year prison sentence and up to $15,000 in fines.

Conviction of a second-degree burglary charge carries up to a 10 year prison sentence and up to $150,000 in fines. You will face a second-degree burglary charge if the following factors are present during the crime:

  • You knowingly, recklessly, or purposefully attempted to threaten or inflict bodily harm on another person; or
  • You are armed with a deadly weapon, explosives, or anything resembling those items.

Even a simple threat to the occupant of a structure is enough to turn the burglary charge into a second-degree crime. In addition, as stated above, even just possessing what appears to be a deadly weapon (baseball bat, knife, etc) will also result in a second-degree burglary charge.

Burglary Tools

New Jersey law makes it a crime to manufacture or possess tools with the intent of using them to commit a crime. That can include any machine, engine, or tool commonly used or designed to commit theft or force entry. Furthermore, it is also considered a crime to publish any instructions on how how to make or use burglary tools.

Facing Burglary Charges in NJ?

Are you facing burglary charges in NJ? Conviction for burglary can result in life-changing consequences. Because of these severe penalties, you need an experienced New Jersey burglary lawyer that knows how to protect your rights. Contact the seasoned legal team at Samuel Louis Sachs Esq LLC to begin the process of fighting your burglary charges.