How Is Burglary Defined in New Jersey?

  • Criminal Defense

The definition of burglary is different in every state. However, the variations are slight, and one can easily get it wrong. If for some inevitable reason, you are convicted for the crime in New Jersey, your life can change significantly.

You risk losing hard-earned money to fines and even miss out on family activities while serving a sentence in jail. Hiring an expert New Jersey criminal defense lawyer can be a significant step towards safeguarding your freedom.

How is Burglary Different From Other Property Crimes?

Robbery, theft and burglary are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are very different. They are all property crimes, but each of them is committed differently, and the penalties also differ. You may be guilty of theft if you take another person’s property without their permission, especially when they are not looking or when they leave it unattended.

Robbery is similar to theft, only that the perpetrator harms, threatens, or attempts to harm the owner of the valuable items. On the other hand, Burglary comes intending to commit a crime like theft or robbery on a person’s property. Notably, robbery and theft come with less severe punishment; compared to burglary.

In What Ways Can One Commit Burglary?

A burglary happens when one gains unauthorized access to another person’s property to do something unlawful. This crime can be committed in several ways:


You will have committed burglary by entering if you:

  • Enter a separately secured portion of a structure, the structure, or a facility.
  • Enter at a time when it is not open to the public.
  • Enter without permission, or no one allowed you in.
  • Intended to do an unlawful act inside the premises.


If you are charged with burglary for remaining, you need to have:
Slyly stayed in a separately secured portion of a structure, the structure, or a facility.
Known that you were not allowed to remain behind.

Trespassing on Utility Company Property

You may be found guilty if you:

  • Entered without permission.
  • Trespassed into a utility company’s property.
  • There was a public notice that prohibited trespassing.
  • Ignored a conspicuous enclosure to exclude an intruder like fencing or posting.

How Does the Law in New Jersey Punish Burglary Convicts?

If you plead guilty or the judge pronounces you guilty of the crime of burglary, serious consequences await you. This fate is common with people that haven’t invested in an experienced New Jersey burglary attorney.

2nd Degree Burglary

Your charge could be in the second degree if you:

  • Recklessly, purposely, or knowingly inflicts bodily injury
  • Recklessly, deliberately, or consciously threatens to inflict bodily injury
  • Are armed with a deadly weapon or an explosive device
  • Display the explosive device or a deadly weapon

2nd Degree Penalties

A second-degree burglary goes with a fine of $150,000. The jail term is usually not less than five years, but not more than ten years. A Toms River, NJ, burglary lawyer can help convince the judge to give you the least possible sentence. Notably, a conviction carries a presumption of incarceration.

3rd Degree Burglary

This happens when you enter a building without proper authorization. You can also be charged if your entry into the premises was lawful, but you secretly remain in it without asking for permission.

3rd Degree Penalties

A sentence in this degree has a presumption of non-incarceration. The imprisonment period is not less than three years, but not more than five years. Convicts have to also part with a fine of $15,000.

Are the Penalties Less Severe for Juvenile Offenders?

A minor can also be charged with burglary in New Jersey, which can be devastating for any parent or guardian. They can be locked up for up to three years for second-degree burglary and up to two years for third-degree burglary.

Notably, there are better ways to rehabilitate a child other than detention, and a burglary attorney in Toms River, NJ, can help you convince the judge on the same. An ideal penalty needs to consider the child’s developmental, medical, and emotional needs. A reasonable attorney will do their best to save the minor from being convicted in the first place.

Is it Possible to Expunge a Burglary Conviction?

The fantastic news is that you can scrap that burglary conviction off your records. However, you have to meet specific requirements first. One can apply if:

  • They only have one or no other separate indictable offense in their record. An example of an indictable offense is a fourth-degree theft committed on another occasion.
  • Six years have passed since they paid the fines and completed parole and prison terms.

The process of getting an expungement can be challenging, but an experienced lawyer in New Jersey can really help. They can ensure that the paperwork is in order and represent you if the petition is challenged in court.

How Can One Beat Burglary Charges?

The prosecution’s role is to present evidence in court and convince the jury that your actions meet the threshold of a burglary crime. On the other hand, a skilled New Jersey burglary attorney will have found ways to prevent them from proving that you are guilty. The attorney can undermine their claims, such as you being present without permission and presence of criminal intentions.

There are many other ways to get the prosecution’s evidence suppressed. For instance, the legal defense team can argue that the arrest was unlawful and have the evidence thrown out. It is also possible to negotiate with the prosecution before the case goes to trial and reduce the charges to a less serious one with less severe consequences.

A Dedicated Lawyer Fighting for the Freedom of the Accused

The moment the prosecution accuses you of burglary, your professional, social, and personal life are at stake. However, you won’t lose everything you love if you seek the advice and legal guidance of a highly skilled criminal defense lawyer near you.

Steven W. Hernandez is always prepared with a strong defense against any offense his clients might be accused of, including burglary.

Call The Hernandez Law Firm, P.C. today at (732) 286 2700 to schedule a meeting to discuss your case.

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