What You Should Know About Burglary

Here at the Law Office of Zapicchi & Liller LLP, we practice many areas of law, from real estate to DUI/DWI charges. We also handle criminal law, protecting the rights of people in Monmouth County, NJ, and the surrounding area. Our criminal law expertise covers more than a dozen areas, ranging from identity theft to furnishing alcohol to a minor. Today we’re going to talk about yet another area of criminal law we cover: burglary. 

What is burglary?

You probably have a vague idea of how to answer that question, but there is a precise answer you may not know. Although laws vary somewhat from state to state, there are several nationwide facets that constitute burglary:

A Structure

Without a structure to burglarize, you can’t have a burglary. But what’s a structure? 

The legal definition of “structure” has expanded in recent years to include temporary and mobile dwellings like tents and trailer homes, as well as campsites.  

An Illegal Entry

This refers to being inside the structure without permission or legal right, regardless of whether that structure was a private or public building. This can also apply in cases where entrance was legal but intent was criminal, such as entering a store in order to shoplift. And physical entry can take many forms: standing outside the building and reaching inside with a tool, for example. 


When you think of forcible entry, you might picture someone breaking a window or prying an opening with a crowbar. In reality, actions as simple as turning a doorknob are legally considered forcible. This rule is also met in cases of shoplifting, when entering is legal but the intent is not.


Pop quiz: If you enter a building intending to steal, but then change your mind, have you committed a crime? The correct answer is YES. A person’s frame of mind is the fourth and final criterion of burglary. 


In NJ, burglary can lead to a prison term of 3 to 5 years. Fines of up to $15,000 are also possible. 

With stakes that high, it’s vital to choose an experienced and reputable law firm. If you or someone you know is facing charges of burglary in or near Hamilton Township NJ, you need criminal lawyers who will fight tirelessly on your behalf.  

Let Zapicchi & Liller defend your rights. Contact them today.