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Burglary Defense Attorneys in New Jersey

Burglary Defense Attorneys in New Jersey

According to New Jersey law, burglary involves entering a “structure” without permission for the purpose of committing a theft or another crime.  Conviction on burglary charges carries significant penalties. Given the repercussions involved in a burglary conviction, hiring an expert defense lawyer is critical.

Introduction to Burglary Offenses in NJ

The burglary law in the state of New Jersey is defined in N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2. Subsection (a) as follows:

A person is guilty of the crime of burglary if, with purpose to commit an offense therein or thereon he:

(1) Enters a research facility, structure, or a separately secured or occupied portion thereof unless the structure was at the time open to the public or the actor is licensed or privileged to enter;

(2) Surreptitiously remains in a research facility, structure, or a separately secured or occupied portion thereof knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so; or

(3) Trespasses in or upon utility company property where public notice prohibiting trespass is given by conspicuous posting, or fencing or other enclosure manifestly designed to exclude intruders.

The word “structure” can mean virtually any type of building, including a home, a store or other commercial structure, and occupied portions of divided structures, like apartments, hotel rooms, or business offices.

Although this offense is often referred to as “breaking and entering”, a burglary need not involve such a disturbance of the structure; all that is needed is an entry without permission or authority or surreptitiously remaining (hiding) inside.

Elements of a New Jersey Burglary Offense

Three (3) basic elements must be established to prove a burglary charge in New Jersey. The prosecutor must demonstrate that:

A defendant entered a structure:

  1. Without the permission of the owner or a license; and
  2. For the purpose of committing a crime.

Again, the entry must be into a “structure” in order for this law to apply. Note that in this regard, motor vehicles such as cars, trucks, mobile homes, boats and airplanes fall within this definition.

The second required proof is that the accused entered the structure without permission.  By this definition, places that are open to the public generally cannot be burglarized without some kind of sign or design that indicates that entry is precluded.

The third and final element that must be demonstrated to convict an individual for burglary is intent to commit a crime in the structure.  Unlike the breaking and entering offense that used to exist in New Jersey, in order for a person to commit burglary, they had to enter for the purpose of stealing something, damaging property, assault another, or committing otherwise violating the law.

The Charge of Conspiracy to Commit Burglary in NJ

It is critical to bear in mind that you could get convicted of burglary even if you did not actively participate in the entry of the property. If you conspired to commit the crime, you can face charges. An individual conspires or engages in a conspiracy if they enter into any agreement with one or more other people to commit a burglary and take an affirmative step to facilitate the crime. The classic scenario for conspiracy to commit burglary is an employee of a business who helps co-conspirators gain entry into the property of their employer (such as a bank, gas station, jeweler, department store,  etc.) by providing the key, alarm code or other form of access. A conspirator faces the same penalties as the person or persons who entered the property.

Degree of The Burglary Offense

Burglary is generally a third-degree crime. The offense is raised, however, to a second-degree for defendants who:

  • Purposely, knowingly or recklessly inflicts, tries to inflict or threatens to inflict physical bodily injury on anyone; or
  • Is armed with or brandishes what appears to be explosives or a deadly weapon.
  • “Bodily injury” takes place when someone suffers physical pain, illness or impairment in any way.

“Deadly weapon” is defined as a firearm or another weapon, device, instrument, material or substance capable of producing death or serious bodily injury, or that the victim could reasonably believe to be so capable.

Possible Penalties for a Burglary in New Jersey

The consequences for third degree burglary include 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

Second degree can get you 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Additionally, the No Early Release Act (“NERA”) applies under these circumstances, making it a requirement for an individual to serve at least 85% of the prison term imposed before they may be considered for parole.

Defenses to a New Jersey Burglary Charge

Prosecutors need to prove every element of New Jersey’s legal definition of burglary beyond a reasonable doubt to get the conviction. They must demonstrate that the building, or “structure,” was not open to the public and you did not otherwise have the necessary permission or authority to enter or remain inside. Additionally, the prosecution must prove your purpose for being inside was to commit a crime.

As your defense lawyers, if you are being held, we will petition for your release from custody at your first hearing or by successfully defending you at a detention hearing. Then we meet with you to document your side of the story, and investigate further to determine the legitimacy and strength of the prosecution’s case.

Our investigation could reveal evidence that supports motions to dismiss or lower charges, or it can give rise to a legal defense, such as:

  • Police misconduct, such as illegal arrest or search and seizure, or neglecting to advise of your Miranda rights
  • “Chain of custody” inconsistencies with police or the court’s handling of evidence, like property alleged to have been stolen or a weapon alleged to have been used
  • Profiling on the basis of racial, ethnic, socio-economic, gender, sexual orientation, or other bias on the part of authorities or witnesses
  • An plausible alibi, such as your ability to establish that you were elsewhere when the incident in question allegedly took place
  • Mistaken identity, like in a faulty suspect lineups
  • Faulty or unreliable witness testimony
  • The property was open to the public at the time the alleged burglary took place
  • Your genuine belief you were permitted to enter the property
  • Absence of intent to commit an additional crime beyond trespass
  • Stress, duress, coercion, inducement by someone else, etc., which led to entering the premises
  • Mental impairment (such as intoxication, illness) that precluded the ability to form intent or purpose to commit another crime

Capitalizing on our firm’s long-standing relationships with prosecutors across the state, our lawyers can reach out immediately if there is room to negotiate for lesser or dismissed charges.

Diversion Programs for New Jersey Burglary Charges

On top of finding problems with the prosecution’s case, we can sometimes get charges downgraded or dismissed for clients who have a clean criminal record, remorse, and willingness to remit restitution, such as for property damage. The diversion programs like Pretrial Intervention (“PTI”) is a choice for first offenders. Drug Court is an additional avenue to explore for those individuals who have a prior record dotted with drug possession and use.

If a trial is necessary in your burglary matter, the whole legal team of Spodek Law Group is available to prepare a strong and persuasive legal defense.

Get in Touch With a Talented NJ Burglary Lawyer at Our Firm

If you were arrested or face indictment for burglary anywhere in the State of New Jersey, contact Spodek Law Group as quickly as possible and, in the meantime, first exercise your right to remain silent. The criminal defense attorneys on our team have the knowledge, experience, and standing in the legal community to shield you from the potentially severe repercussions of this theft charge, including the possibility of years behind bars.

Don’t face the severe punishment and lasting damage of a guilty verdict or plea to burglary charges without the solid legal defense our lawyers can provide. Contact us right away for a free initial consultation to learn how we can protect you. An attorney is available immediately to speak with you.


Charle Butler
Charle Butler
2021-03-12
Verified
I was hesitant to hire the Spodek Law Group. I read reviews and knew they have a great reputation. However, I thought I would spend money and not see or speak to my attorney. From the beginning to end of my case Todd and the entire staff were available and willing to help. We worked towards and end result that was way above my expectation and Todd delivered. I am forever grateful for patience and long days and night spent working on my case. Thanks Todd and the entire team!
Mesonista parsons
Mesonista parsons
2021-03-05
Verified
My attorney at Spodek was Abigail. She was very knowledgeable and helpful with all my questions and concerns, as well as responsive. Her fees are affordable and Abigail took the time to make sure I understood everything relating to my case. I highly recommend Abigail and will request her services in the future.
debabrata chakraborty
debabrata chakraborty
2021-03-03
Verified
Todd A Spodek is the experienced and best criminal lawyer at USA. He is very professional and always respond on time. Alex also very cooperative and always help me. They took care me and my problem like family member. I am 100% satisfied for their professional service. My result was unexpected and amazing. They dismissed my case. I am really grateful to them. I will recommend you to go there if you want to solve your problem. I wish all the best for them.
Asata Hendricks
Asata Hendricks
2021-03-02
Verified
Truly appreciate the work the guys did!. Exceptional team & I know they care about each and everyone of their clients. I am super thankful to be referred to Spodek Law Group and I am grateful Todd & Alex were able to work diligently to achieve an outcome I am pleased with. Despite COVID they stayed on top of things and kept me informed every step of the way. Very thankful.
Mike Moroff
Mike Moroff
2021-02-26
Verified
I'm very satisfied with the services rendered by Todd, Alex and Mary Lou. I whole heartedly recommend Spodek Law Group . I've worked with and have retained other attorneys in the past with Todd's firm being the cream of the crop for many reasons. A very serious legal matter was resolved after a year's hard work and effort. Todd expertly guided me through the process and was able to navigate and make the good journey bearable as well as successful. Mary Lou initially provided excellent assistance before referring my case to Todd. Alex's support was effective and timely. The customer portal (MyCase) is an invaluable communication tool that also kept track of my case. Various aspects of my case were explained and there were several options provided but I made the final decision of how the case would be handled. The legal fee was reasonable considering the effort and amount of work plus it was a flat fee regardless of the length of time required to conclude my case. Todd made himself available to me and we had many scheduled meetings to go over the progress and to discuss the next steps. I felt more confident after many discussions with him. You will not go wrong choosing Spodek Law Group for legal matters.
Josh Katz
Josh Katz
2021-02-24
Verified
Being that it was the first time that I was in need of an attorney, I was afraid and hesitant and knew I needed the absolute best. It is beyond understood why Spodek Law Group has a reputation of being the top, if not the best law firm in New York. Alex and Abigail were there every step of the way even at the most unconvenient hours. I could not have asked for more. They are extremely good at what they do and they delivered much much more than just winning my case. A big thank you to Alex and Abigail for all the guidance and counseling and their upmost loyal support that extended far more than just legally. If you need the absolute best than don't hesitate to hire Spodek Law Firm.
L.C.
L.C.
2021-02-24
Verified
I cannot tell you how thankful I am to Todd and Alex for their hard work and dedication to my case. I had never been in any trouble before but I had an unfortunate event occur and in the midst of COVID-19 at that therefore I knew I needed a team that was dedicated to my success. Today- my case has been finalized and I’m walking away with no record and can continue life as a mother and a Grad student worry free. I cannot express enough gratitude for their assistance.
AnnMarie Soliman
AnnMarie Soliman
2021-02-23
Verified
I received a summons and called Spodek law group for a free consultation. Alex took my call and was very quick and responsive. He was available anytime through multiple platforms and very reassuring when needed. They are extremely organized and thorough. They got my case dismissed! I’m very grateful. Thank you Alex and Todd!

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"Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them..."

David Bruce

"Spodek Law Group was incredibly professional and has given me the best advice I could wish for. They had been helpful and empathetic to my stressful situation. Would highly recommend Spodek Law Group to anyone I meet."

Rowlin Garcia

"Best service I ever had. Todd is absolutely class personified. You are in the safest hands with spodek. They have their clients interest in mind."

Francis Anim
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