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The crime of burglary tends to be associated with theft or robbery. However, it is important to understand that these are all different. The classification of each depends on how the crime was committed. In the state of New Jersey, a person commits the crime of burglary when they enter or remain in a structure or research facility without permission and have the intent to commit a crime inside. In addition to this, burglary is committed when a person trespasses onto a property belonging to a utility company with the intent to commit a crime. If you’re accused of burglary, read on and reach out to our dedicated Bergen County criminal defense attorneys to learn more about these charges and how we can help fight them.

How is burglary defined in New Jersey?

Under New Jersey law, a “structure” is defined as any building, room, vehicle, airplane, ship, or place adapted for sleeping or business. This makes it illegal for anyone to come onto these properties without permission to commit a crime. For example, if an individual enters a store after hours when it is not open to the public, it is done without permission. If the individual has the intent to commit a crime, they can be charged with burglary.

In order to convict a person of burglary, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual entered the structure with the intent to commit a crime. This intent is generally determined by the circumstances, and a prosecutor is not required to establish exactly what the individual was thinking at the time. It is important to know that burglary occurs once they enter the building with the intent, even if the crime never actually happens.

What is aggravated burglary?

The crime of burglary can be upgraded in the event of certain circumstances. When this happens, it is known as aggravated burglary. This may be the case in the event that the individual inflicts, attempts, or threatens to inflict bodily injury on another person. It can also happen if they are armed with or displays what appears to be a deadly weapon or explosive.

What happens if I’m convicted?

Generally, burglary is a crime of the third degree. This is punishable by three to five years imprisonment and a fine of up to $15,000. Aggravated burglary is a crime of the second degree. This is punishable by five to ten years in prison as well as a fine up to $150,000.

In the state of New Jersey, it is also a crime to possess or manufacture burglary tools. This includes any engine, machine, or tool that can be used to force entry or commit a crime. It is also illegal to publish instructions on how to make these tools. If a person is in possession of these tools, it is considered a disorderly persons offense. However, the manufacturing of these tools or publishing plans for them is a crime in the fourth degree.


If you require the legal assistance of an attorney to help you through a criminal law matter, personal injury matter, family law matter, or otherwise, contact McNerney & McAuliffe today.

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