New Jersey Burglary Offense
The New Jersey Criminal code defines burglary under N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2 as the unlawful entrance or trespass onto the property or structure of another with the intent to commit an offense on that property. Typically, this refers to someone entering a home to commit theft, although that is not always the case. A burglary offense can also refer to harassment or assault.
Furthermore, the property or structure does not need to be a home. The term “structure,” as defined in the burglary statute of N.J.S.A. 2C:18-1, means “any building, room, ship, vessel, car, vehicle or airplane, and also means any place adapted for overnight accommodation of persons, or for carrying on business therein, whether or not a person is actually present.”
Burglary, 2nd Degree
New Jersey defines burglary in the second degree if “during the course of committing an offense” a defendant purposely, knowingly or recklessly inflicts, attempts to inflict or threatens to inflict bodily injury or is armed with or displays explosives or a deadly weapon. The terms “during the course of committing an offense” includes the attempted burglary and the flight immediately after a burglary.
Defendants who plead guilty or are found guilty of a second degree burglary are subject to a term of five to 10 years of imprisonment in New Jersey State Prison plus fines up to $150,000. A crime of the second degree carries with it a presumption of incarceration at sentencing.
Burglary, 3rd Degree
Third degree burglary refers to the unlawful or unauthorized entry onto or into a structure or research facility, unless there is some sort of threat of violence or use of a deadly weapon. Gaining lawful entry onto or into a structure and then surreptitiously remaining without permission can also constitute burglary.
Defendants who plead guilty or are found guilty of a crime of the third degree are subject to a term of three to five years of imprisonment in New Jersey State Prison. Contrary to second degree burglary, a crime of the third degree carries with it a presumption of non-incarceration at sentencing.
Defenses to Burglary in New Jersey
There are a number of potential defenses to burglary charges in New Jersey, such as a defendant’s intent and purpose in entering the property. Every case is unique to the facts and circumstances presented.
An experienced burglary defense attorney will be able to determine all potential defenses including grounds to have the charges reduced or dismissed. If you have been charged with burglary in Burlington County, call Rosenberg | Perry & Associates at (609) 216-7400 to discuss your case and evaluate all of your defense options.