South Jersey Criminal Lawyer
Anyone charged with burglary faces serious consequences, including years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. Those charged with burglary in New Jersey face charges for either a second or third-degree crime, depending on the circumstances of the case. Burglary may be graded as a crime of the second degree if, during committing the burglary, the defendant:
- Inflicted, threatened to inflict, or attempted to inflict bodily harm upon anyone, or
- Was armed with or displayed explosives or a deadly weapon
However, in most cases, burglary is a crime of the third-degree. According to New Jersey statute, a person is guilty of burglary if they, with the intent to commit an offense:
Entered a research facility or structure. Anyone who entered a research facility, structure, or a separately secured or occupied portion thereof, is guilty of burglary, unless the structure was open to the public or the person was licensed to enter. According to New Jersey law, structures include buildings, rooms, ships, vehicles, tents, sheds, or other areas used for sleeping or conducting business.
Remained in a research facility or structure. Those who surreptitiously remained in such a facility or structure knowing they did not have permission may be charged with burglary. A person is considered to have permission to remain inside a business only during the hours that it is open to the public and only in the parts of the business that are open to the public.
Trespassed on utility company property. A person may also be guilty of burglary in New Jersey if they trespassed on public utility property. The trespass must have occurred despite the presence of public notice prohibiting trespass, such as posting or fencing.
Penalties for a Burglary Conviction
The penalties for a burglary conviction in New Jersey vary depending on the nature of the crime. To be guilty of burglary, a defendant need not have committed the crime; their intention to do so is enough. Those who are convicted of a burglary in the second-degree face possible imprisonment for a term of five to 10 years and fines of up to $150,000. Third-degree burglary convictions may subject defendants to imprisonment for a term of three to five years and a fine of up to $15,000.
Defenses to Burglary
A defendant can avoid burglary charges by asserting one of several possible defenses. Such defenses are intended to disprove the required elements of the crime, such as intent or permission. Therefore, defendants may avoid conviction by showing that they did not intend to commit a crime when they entered the facility/structure, that the premises was open to the public at the time they entered, or that they had permission to enter.
If a defendant intended to steal something but did not, they may be able to have their charges reduced to the lesser offense of criminal trespass. It is advisable to seek the counsel of a qualified attorney in your local area, as the laws on this vary and can be complex.
Haddonfield Criminal Lawyers at Aita Law, LLC Handle Burglary Cases
If you were charged with burglary in New Jersey, contact a Haddonfield criminal lawyer at Aita Law, LLC today. Our firm is dedicated to representing clients involved in all types of criminal matters and we will fight for your rights. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill and Camden County. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 856-287-7800.
KENNETH D. AITA, ESQUIRE
Mr. Aita has successfully defended thousands of criminal cases. When you or a loved one is charged with a crime, it is an extremely daunting and frightening time. Criminal charges and convictions can have devastating effects on your life. You can be fired from your job, you can hurt your ability to get employment in the future, and most importantly could lose your precious freedom. Mr. Aita not only has the experience and expertise to represent you, but the compassion and understanding to help you through this difficult and confusing process. In a criminal case, everyone is against you; the police, the judge, and certainly the prosecutor, whose job is to get convictions. Mr. Aita is not only your skilled legal advocate, but is in your corner to protect you against the vast government resources that are against you. Make no mistake, fighting a criminal case is a war. You need an attorney willing to go to battle. Mr. Aita is in the trenches every single day tirelessly fighting for justice for his clients.