Is Burglary a Felony in New Jersey?

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When you get charged with burglary in New Jersey, you are likely to end up with a felony charge. This is because this crime is defined as more than just stealing. Someone who commits burglary is also illegally entering a structure with the intent to steal. They are trespassing and the crime is premeditated. Other circumstances can also lead to you being charged with other crimes and more severe charges. This is why it’s wise to talk to a Bergen County criminal defense lawyer once you have been accused of committing such crimes.

What Can Affect the Severity of My Burglary Charge?

Burglary is almost always going to be charged as a felony, but other elements of your alleged crime can influence the severity of the crime and make it harder to avoid severe punishments. Third-degree burglary is an indictable offense, similar to a felony in other states. It can become a second-degree crime if you were allegedly attempted to hurt anyone or were armed with explosives or a deadly weapon.

What Are the Punishments for Burglary?

The punishments for burglary often include jail time and a fine. How severe the penalties are will depend on the degree of the crime.

A third-degree crime means a jail sentence of three to five years and a fine of up to $15,000. Get convicted for a second-degree offense and you could be looking at 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine.

A first-time offender may be punished less severely, A lawyer can help you make an argument for other penalties, like probation, instead of jail time. This can be difficult to do if charged with a second-degree crime or any additional crimes though.

What Other Charges Can Complicate My Trial?

Unfortunately, burglary is rarely the only thing that a defendant gets charged with in these kinds of cases. You could also be charged with criminal trespass, possession of a weapon, theft, vandalism, robbery, or assault. All of this can make it harder to avoid more severe punishments.

How Can You Defend Yourself From a Felony Burglary Charge?

Your goal is to create reasonable doubt, showing that the prosecution’s case against you is not as airtight as it initially appears. Your lawyer may try to:

  • Argue that you had permission to be in the structure or on the property
  • Show that you had no intent of committing a crime
  • Get evidence suppressed and charges dismissed when possible

Your lawyer can also negotiate with the prosecution for lesser charges and penalties. If you are a first-time offender or someone suffering from a drug problem, there could be other, less severe punishments that can help you become rehabilitated in the eyes of the state.

Talk to a Lawyer Today

So if you are facing any kind of burglary charges, you must take them seriously. Contact the Law Office of Boyd & Squitieri to schedule a free consultation with our team. We can take a closer look at your case and get right to work on forming a defensive strategy that could help you avoid jail time, fines, and other punishments.