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ABOUT NEW JERSEY BURGLARY

Burglary is a very serious crime in New Jersey.  The law provides very significant penalties for those convicted of Burglary.  If you are charged with Burglary, it is critical that you have an experienced New Jersey criminal defense Burglary lawyer on your side.  In these cases, as in most, the right attorney can make all the difference.

Under New Jersey law, a defendant will be convicted of Burglary if he or she 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 he is not licensed or privileged to do so.

The State must prove four elements to win a conviction of Burglary:

1.) The defendant must enter into

2.) a structure or research facility

3.) which is not open to the public or there is no privilege to be there

4.) with the intent to commit another criminal offense inside the structure

 

Concerning the requirement that a defendant “enter” the structure, it is important to understand that a defendant does not need to “break into” a structure to be convicted of Burglary.  Rather, simply entering a structure where you have no right or license to enter can result in a conviction of Burglary. 

As a general rule, a “structure” is considered an enclosure that establishes a boundary and limits entrance or escape.  The most common example is a building, which may include a house, office building, restaurant, hotel or other place of business.

It is also important to note that Burglary does not need to involve theft or the unlawful taking of property.  Rather, Burglary involves only the unlawful entrance onto the property.  Of course, if a theft occurs once a defendant is inside the structure, as is often the case, additional separate charges may be filed.

The penalties for Burglary can be quite severe.  As a general rule, Burglary is a crime of the Third Degree, which exposes a defendant to up to five years in state prison.  However, Burglary can be a crime of the Second Degree if a defendant purposely, knowingly or recklessly inflicts, tries to inflict or threatens to inflict bodily injury on anyone; or has or shows what seem to be explosives or deadly weapons. Such charges can result in enhanced penalties, including a jail term of up to 10 years.

The State can also charge individuals with the unlawful possession of burglar’s tools.  This involves situations where a defendant has objects used or intended to gain entry into a structure.  Depending upon the circumstances, this can be a crime of the Fourth Degree, subjecting the defendant to 18 months in jail, or a disorderly persons offense, which carries up to 6 months in jail.

 

If you are facing Burglary charges, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.  A New Jersey Burglary lawyer can help you through the process and avoid the most serious penalties.  This law firm has experience representing defendants throughout New Jersey.  We will vigorously fight to defend your rights and liberty.

 

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