Burglary and theft tend to go hand in hand in perception and conversation. Whether it’s the cartoonish image of the bandit with the mask over their eyes or the considerably more frightening version of an armed robber, people tend to think that burglary isn’t burglary unless the perpetrator walks away with money or jewelry or any other kind of property. The fact is, in New Jersey, you can still be convicted of a burglary charge even if you walk away empty-handed. Each state’s exact burglary laws are different, but in New Jersey you may be surprised to learn exactly what can land you in jail for this crime.
In New Jersey, burglary is defined as “entering or remaining on property that you have no lawful right to be on for the purpose of committing an offense.” This is generally considered a third-degree crime and can carry a prison sentence of three to five years. Charges are compounded if the act or threat of bodily harm is involved. The state’s burglary laws are not as cut and dried as you might think and if you find yourself facing legal action for a burglary-related charge, you need to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney.
There are numerous mitigating factors that may work in your favor when you’re facing burglary charge. If you have no prior criminal record, didn’t commit or threaten harm or even show genuine remorse you may be able to negotiate for lesser charges; however it will be difficult without an experienced and qualified legal advocate to help you argue before a judge. People commit burglary for a variety of reasons: whether you’re facing these charges out of desperation or a lapse in judgment, or are being wrongfully accused, don’t let a simple mistake cost you years of your life.
John Tumelty is a former prosecutor with unique insight into New Jersey’s criminal justice system. He now has years of successful experience defending clients against burglary charges. Call Mr. Tumelty today for a free consultation so he can immediately start planning your defense.