Serving Mercer County, Hunterdon County, and Somerset CountyAvailable 24/7 - Consultation is Free
Firm Logo


What is Burglary?

Flemington Theft LawyerFlemington Theft Lawyer

The common definition of burglary generally involves someone entering another’s residence or place of business and stealing from them. In New Jersey, criminal burglary is very specifically defined, and someone is guilty of burglary only if certain conditions are present. If someone enters or remains inside a building or structure of any kind without permission and plans to commit a criminal offense while inside, they are guilty of burglary. You can also be convicted of burglary for trespassing on utility company property with the purpose of committing a crime there. Burglary is generally a third degree crime. If the actor hurts or threatens to hurt someone, or is armed with a weapon, then the crime can be enhanced to a second degree crime, which carries more severe penalties upon conviction. Regardless of the degree, burglary is a serious felony charge. If you are facing a criminal charge of burglary, then it is important that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.

What Are the Possible Punishments for Burglary?

The main possible punishments for a conviction of burglary include:

  • Prison: Anyone convicted of a third-degree crime will face minimum penalties as set by New Jersey statute. A conviction for a third-degree burglary will result in a three-to-five-year prison sentence with a presumptive sentence of four years. A conviction for a second-degree burglary will result in a five-to-ten-year prison sentence with a presumptive sentence of seven years.
  • Probation: If you are a first offender, you may be given the opportunity for a pre-trial diversion program that involves probation instead of a prison sentence. You will be required to follow a number of conditions as set by the court. If you fail to abide by the conditions, then you are subject to being sentenced to jail or prison.
  • Restitution: Anything improperly obtained as a result of burglary will be ordered to be repaid by a judge.
  • Fines: Anyone convicted of third-degree burglary can face a fine of up to $15,000. If the conviction is for second-degree burglary, the fine increases to a maximum of $150,000.
  • Other: A felony conviction for burglary is a mark on your criminal record that will make it difficult to find employment or live in certain places. You can also lose a professional license because of a conviction.

What Are Some Examples of Burglary?

Under New Jersey law, some common examples of burglary include:

  • Entering through an open window to steal an item from inside
  • Staying inside a store after it closes to steal an item from inside
  • Entering utility company property against the posted signs

This is just a partial list of examples of what can be charged as a burglary in New Jersey. Any type of entry into a facility without permission where the actor plans to commit a felony or larceny while inside can result in a burglary charge. There are specific differences between the crimes of theft, robbery, and burglary. It is important to know which crime may apply to your circumstances, and how to defend yourself if charged.

What Are the Possible Defenses?

The crime of burglary requires the purpose and/or intent to commit a crime along with entering into another’s property. It is the duty of the prosecutor to prove that you had a criminal intent to do something illegal when you entered a property without permission. Some of the most common questions a seasoned defense attorney will need to ask include:

  • Were you there for another reason?
  • Did you have permission from someone else to enter?
  • Were you forced to do something against your will?
  • Were you even there?

The answer to these and many other possible questions will help an experienced criminal defense attorney construct the most effective defense for a burglary charge. If the prosecutor is unable to prove criminal intent or is unable to prove that you were actually there, then that may lead to a not guilty verdict.

Why Forrester Law Stands Above the Rest in Criminal Defense

Attorney Amber Forrester has been certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a certified criminal trial attorney, a distinction less than 2% of attorneys achieve. Less than 250 of the over 80,000 lawyers in New Jersey share this certification with Ms. Forrester. In over a dozen years as a criminal defense attorney, she has represented thousands of people, with many facing serious potential consequences. Ms. Forrester’s skills, experience, and reputation are evident in the results she consistently achieves for her clients. You have a choice in who represents you, make sure you make the right choice with a call to Forrester Law.

Best Criminal Defense Attorneys in TrentonBest Criminal Defense Attorneys in Trenton
Best Criminal Defense Attorneys in EdisonBest Criminal Defense Attorneys in Edison
Best DUI Lawyers in TrentonBest DUI Lawyers in Trenton