Burglary Charges

A person can be accused of committing burglary if they go into a building intending to commit a crime therein. For a person to be convicted of burglary, the prosecution must show, and convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt, that the following occurred:

  • Presence of a structure – before, burglary laws applied only to houses, but laws today identify many different structures including tents, campsites and trailer homes, etc as structures.
  • Illegal entry – the prosecution must provide evidence that the defendant entered without permission or illegally. This applies to private buildings or public buildings which were closed at the time. Burglary laws also cover defendants that go into a publicly open place with the intention to commit crime e.g. going into a store to shoplift or steal. The person doesn’t have to enter with the whole body; it’s still burglary if they use a tool or reach into the building with their hands.
  • Use of force – any kind of forcible entry is sufficient to satisfy this condition. For instance, the accused person need only lift an unlocked window or turn a door knob to gain entry. As described above however, walking freely into a public place is still burglary if there was intent to commit crime
  • Intent to commit a crime – the prosecution must demonstrate existing intent to commit a felony, theft, or other crime. It would still be criminal if a person enters to steal for instance, but then changes his mind. Circumstances of the case can help to show typical frame of mind.

Penalties for Burglary

Burglary is a serious offense, although in a few situations it can be charged as a misdemeanor. Following conviction of burglary, a defendant may be looking at several penalties. In the state of New Jersey, the following are possible penalties:

  • Fines not exceeding $15,000
  • 3-5 year long jail terms
  • Tarnished criminal record

Burglaries are either second or third degree crimes depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime. The most notable difference between the two grades is that a third degree burglary would be graduated to a second degree burglary if any person is hurt in the process, or if the burglar was armed at the time of unlawful entry.

For burglaries which don’t result in damage to property or personal injury, an accused person can get probation or restitution sentences. For the former, a judge places the accused on probation, which can also be given in addition to a prison sentence. For the latter, the accused is simply ordered to pay the victims for losses so that they can repair or replace anything that was ruined.

Burglary Charges

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone close to you is facing burglary charges, it is essential to seek the expert guidance of professional and experienced criminal litigation lawyers. Do not hesitate to contact us at Zapicchi & Liller for the best representation and the best chance at winning a favorable outcome.

Remember that time is of the essence; an immediate request for representation will allow your defense attorney more time to carry out research, review evidence and craft an effective strategy. Our law offices are open every weekday, so feel free to call us now to set up your consultation.

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