If you have been charged with burglary, you need to take this offense seriously. Burglary is always a felony under NJ Law and can result in many years in state prison. This is a primary reason for you to seek immediate assistance from an experienced criminal attorney if you were arrested for burglary. Our East Brunswick Law Office is filled with experienced defense lawyers, many of whom are former prosecutors. Do not hesitate to contact us for an immediate free consultation by calling 732-227-1200.
Charged With Burglary Under N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2
The actual language of the statute under N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2 makes it clearer what the actual offense of burglary consists of. The statute defines burglary in the following manner: “A person is guilty of burglary if, with purpose to commit an offense therein or thereon 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;
- 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; or
- Trespasses in or upon utility company property where public notice prohibiting trespass is given by conspicuous posting, or fencing or other enclosure manifestly designed to exclude intruders.
To put all of this in simpler terms, the State has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt two primary elements. First, the state must prove that the accused entered the premises without authorization to do so. Therefore, a natural affirmative defense to any charge of burglary is that you had authorization to be where you were. Without this element of unauthorized entrance on a property, a conviction for burglary cannot be obtained, although other crimes like larceny or robbery might still be possible, if, though authorized to be there, you stole something. The second element, then, relates to your state of mind. The State must prove that the reason you stayed on the premises after entering unlawfully was to commit another crime, in most cases, larceny (theft). Thus, a defense for this element would be to show that you had lawful reasons for staying on the property, though you may have been there unlawfully. Basically this means that you would argue that it was a mere trespass offense and not burglary.
If, however, the State is able to establish these two elements and obtain a conviction, burglary is a crime of the second degree in circumstances where the actor either purposely, knowingly or recklessly inflicts, attempts to inflict or threatens to inflict bodily injury on anyone or in circumstances where the actor is armed with or displays what appear to be explosives or a deadly weapon. In all other commissions of the offense, burglary is a third degree crime. This distinction is significant from a sentencing standpoint. A crime of the second degree can carry with it the possibility of incarceration for between 5 and 10 years, as well as fines of up to $150,000. It is also of note that where the offense is a second degree offense because of the use of a deadly weapon, other statutes like NERA (No Early Release Act) and the Graves Act may make parole unlikely. On the other hand, a third degree offense carries with it the possibility of incarceration for between 3 and 5 years and fines of up to $75,000.
East Brunswick NJ Breaking & Entering Defense Lawyers
Either way, a conviction for a burglary is serious given the possibility of lengthy periods of incarceration and potentially heavy fines. You cannot afford to face these charges alone. Here at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, we have over 100 years of collective experience defending against criminal charges in East Brunswick, including charges for burglary. Our team even consists of former prosecutors, who know the ins and outs of the offenses, as well as how best to attack the State’s case against you. So please, if you or a loved one has been charged with burglary in East Brunswick, do not hesitate to contact our office today for a free consultation with an experienced burglary attorney about the particulars of your case.