What is the Law on Burglary in New Jersey and What are the Punishments for it?
Among all other crimes, burglary is considered to be quite a serious one in New Jersey. The penalties that are imposed on a person will depend on the seriousness of the crime committed by the accused. Burglary can also become a second-degree offense in certain cases.
What is a burglary in New Jersey?
In a generalized manner, burglary in New Jersey means that a person has unlawfully entered into a structure that belongs to some other person and has committed or has the intent to commit larceny or felony inside that structure. But to be precise, the N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2 has categorized burglary into three different types which are explained below –
- Entering into a Structure – You will be convicted for burglary for entering a structure if you –
- Enter a structure which is not open to the public at that time
- Enter a structure or research facility or some portion of a structure that is separately secured or occupied
- Enter a structure where you do not have the permission to enter or not allowed to enter for some reason
- Enter a structure with the intent to commit some offense
- Remaining Inside a Structure – You will be convicted for burglary for remaining inside a structure if you –
- Remain in a structure in order to avoid the attention of others
- Remain in a structure or research facility or some portion of a structure that is separately secured or occupied
- Remain in a structure even after knowing that you do not have the permission to do so or you are not allowed there for some reason
- Trespassing on a Company Owned Utility Property – You will be convicted for burglary for trespassing on utility property that is owned by a company if you –
- Trespass knowingly or unknowingly
- Present on or in the utility property owned by a company
- Present at the property even after a public notice forbidding trespassing has already been hung
- Present at the property even after the presence of a fence or any other form of conspicuous posting that is meant to keep the intruders out
What are the penalties for committing burglary in New Jersey?
The penalties that are imposed on the accused person for committing burglary in the state of New Jersey vary with the intensity of the crime that has been committed.
- If the accused person has committed any one of the three types of burglary that have been described above, then the crime will be classified as a third-degree offense. This type of crime usually requires the person to pay a fine up to $15,000 and also spend a time period of 3 to 5 years in jail.
- Then comes the second-degree offense. A first-degree burglary offense can become a second-degree, which is more serious, if the person inflicts bodily injury on someone purposefully or recklessly or if the person while committing burglary threatens others with weapons or displays some sort of serious weapons or explosives. Bodily injury, according to the law in New Jersey, can be anything from illness to physical pain or even physical impairment. For this type of offense, the accused can be sent to prison for 5 to 10 years and pay a fine up to $150,000.
- Moreover, if during the burglary, the accused was found to possess a firearm, then according to the New Jersey’s Graves Act, the accused will have to serve 85% of his/her sentence before they can apply for parole.
You should never mess around with your burglary charge in New Jersey because of all the delicate clauses associated with it. A simple injury to any other person can convert your crime to a second-degree offense thus resulting in an increased penalty.