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.”
“Property” can refer to personal property or Utility Company Property, which the statute defines as
N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2 goes on to state that a person is guilty of burglary if they have the purpose to commit an offense in or on the property and:
- 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.
Second Degree Burglary
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 (5) to ten (10) years of imprisonment in New Jersey State Prison. A crime of the second degree carries with it a presumption of incarceration at sentencing.
Third Degree Burglary
Third degree burglary refers to the unlawful or unauthorized entry onto or into a structure or research facility is a crime of the third degree, 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 (3) to five (5) 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. A defendant’s intent and purpose in entering the property can create a potential defense to charges. Every case is unique to the facts and circumstances presented. An experienced burglary defense attorney will be able to obtain and review discovery to determine all potential defenses. If you have been charged with burglary in Burlington County, call Daniel M. Rosenberg & Associates to discuss your case and evaluate all of your defense options.