Burglary in Stafford New Jersey
Stafford Burglary Defense Lawyers
Sir Edward Coke is responsible for saying that a man’s house is his castle. This quote is commonly understood to mean that we should be able to seek solace and protection in our homes and our belongings, free from the interference of others. In keeping with this line of thinking is the assumption that no one’s peace and enjoyment should be disturbed by those seeking to commit an offense within property belonging to someone else. With the same sentiment, the crime of burglary allows for police to charge you with the offense if you trespass against another’s property with the intention of committing an offense inside. Practically speaking, you must knowingly enter the property without permission with the desire to commit an offense therein. If you went into someone’s home and just stood in their living room without more, you might be guilty of criminal trespass, but not burglary. To be charged with burglary, it must be alleged that you committed an offense and had the intent to commit another, in addition to the trespass or unauthorized access. A third degree burglary is perhaps the most commonly charged form of the offense in Stafford Township and throughout New Jersey.
If you find yourself as the person arrested and charged with burglary in Stafford or Manahawkin, it is important to understand the statutory definition of the crime, the possible degrees of burglary offenses, and the sentences that may be imposed in such cases. We also urge you to contact our highly experienced Stafford NJ burglary defense lawyers to discuss your unique situation and how we can assist with defending your case. You can reach us anytime at (848) 238-2100 for a free consultation.
Facing Burglary Charges in Stafford Township NJ
To best understand burglary allegations in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2, it is useful to examine a hypothetical situation. Consider the following hypothetical burglary crime. John decides to go to a residential address in the Township of Stafford. He needs money for drugs and knows that the people living there have items he can steal and pawn at a local shop. John has never met the people who live there and he has no permission to enter the home. But does not care, as he is in withdrawal and desperate for cash. He goes in, steals a pair of distinct gold earrings, some cash, and a computer. After taking the items he heads to the pawn shop where the dealer asks him for his ID. John knows that the ID will eventually lead to his arrest but he doesn’t care. As you may have guessed, the homeowner comes home and sees that the lock is broken, the items are missing, and he calls the police. The police check at the pawn shop and the manager has a picture of John’s ID next to the earrings that were pawned. John is arrested and charged with a third degree crime for burglary. John is not alone, as many people have been charged with 3rd degree burglaries in this state.
Of note: burglary is not limited to residences and you may be charged with the offense if you enter other structures as well. In essence, the crime is not limited to situations involving residential thefts. You can also be charged with burglary if you:
- Enter a car or other motor vehicle and take items that do not belong to you;
- Enter another building or structure not open to the public to commit an offense inside (i.e. a store, factory, warehouse, bank, restaurant);
- Enter a research facility and remain inside; or
- Trespass upon a utility company’s property.
For most offenses, it must be alleged that you committed an additional crime, attempted to, or intended to, once inside the structure. Crimes that have been committed inside homes or facilities covered under the burglary statute encompass theft of movable property, criminal mischief (damaging property), assault, sexual assault, terroristic threats, criminal restraint, identity theft, and credit card theft.
Degrees of Stafford Burglary Crimes
Typical burglary is a third degree crime. For this felony offense, the defendant faces 3-5 years behind bars at one of New Jersey’s finest state prisons and can be forced to pay up to $15,000 in fines.While most burglaries are considered third degree crimes, some are elevated to second degree when the structure is occupied. You can be charged with a second degree crime if, while attempting to commit the offense, you: cause an injury to someone or attempt to do so “purposely knowingly, or recklessly” or; possess a deadly weapon, display such a weapon, or have an explosive. For some, this degree of crime may have been committed unknowingly as they stumble upon a person in the course of committing the burglary. For others, such as those who commit sexual or other assaults, it is their intention to harm the person while committing the crime. Those convicted of this offense face serious mandatory penalties if convicted. For a second degree crime, the law requires a jail sentence of 5-10 years, up to $150,000 in fines, and a possibility of serving 85% before you are eligible for parole (if a weapon was used).
More than one burglary offense could also mean punishments that accumulate with each conviction. For instance, the Stafford Township police were recently trying to identify and locate a man wanted in connection with several burglaries in the area. It is alleged that the same man entered Jersey Mike’s, Asian Gourmet, Andy’s Pizzeria, and Mamma Maria’s Pizzeria when the businesses were not open to the public and stole the belongings of the respective businesses. If the person is caught, he may be charged with separate, third degree crimes of burglary for each store that he allegedly entered and stole items from. The minimum degree of crime for a burglary is a third degree, for which he could receive as much as 5 years in prison. So, for allegedly burglarizing 4 businesses, a defendant could do as much as 20 years in New Jersey State Prison.
Arrested for Burglary in Stafford NJ, What can an attorney do to help me?
Fortunately, not all cases lead to lengthy state prison terms and large financial penalties. There are viable defenses to burglary charges. In fact, many cases are just simple trespasses elevated to burglaries either because the police are misled, mistaken, forced into it by alleged victims, or just simply using it as a bully tactic to get you to plead guilty. No matter what the reason, the case may be resolved to something less than a burglary or a plea that does not involve jail time. Depending on the evidence, or lack thereof, we may be able to get the charges dismissed altogether. You may also be eligible for a diversionary program such as Pre-Trial Intervention if you have no prior history. No matter what, we will comb through the allegations, uncover the facts, and defend the case against you. Call us today at (848) 238-2100 to speak with a dedicated Stafford Burglary Attorney who can provide you with more information.