A charge of burglary in New Jersey is no small ticket. Unlike running a red light, or forgetting to put change in the meter, burglaries are an indictable felony offense. Often a guilty verdict to burglary will carry a prison sentence. The state takes these charges very seriously and will seek to do everything in their power to win their case.
The textbook definition of a burglary is, entering or remaining on property without legal right with the intent to commit a crime. The definition can be split in two separate statements, both pieces of which need to be present for the charge of burglary. The prosecution will need to prove that trespassing took place, and that there was an intent to commit a further crime.
Entering a structure where you have no legal right to be doesn't always mean there was a forced entry. For instance an employee who returns to his work after hours without permission is trespassing. Even if a door is only slightly ajar, pushing it open is enough to be considered breaking and entering. It's important to remember the term 'structure' is not limited to a house or place of business it can range from a boat to a motel room. It just comes down to the prosecution being able to prove that you were somewhere you didn’t have the right or permission to be.
The state’s biggest challenge in a burglary case will be proving that there was an intent to commit a crime. It doesn't mean that there was an intent to commit a theft. Nothing needs to be taken from the property for a burglary to have taken place. It only matters that after the entry, there was an additional desire to commit a crime.
While burglary is generally a third degree crime, several circumstances can bump the crime up to a 2nd degree offense which could have a prison sentence of up to ten years. If there was intent for any bodily harm, or if a deadly weapon was found on the person trespassing.
Even if it’s a third degree crime, a burglary charge is incredibly serious. Having an attorney with expert knowledge could be the difference between jail time and remaining free.
If you are seeking representation for a burglary charge, call today for a free consultation 800-709-1131 or fill out a contact form on our website for a no-cost consultation. We hope to hear from you today!