New Jersey Burglary Law Under N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2
The New Jersey Burglary Law is contained at N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2. The statute defines burglary as:
- The unauthorized entry into a structure for the purpose of committing a criminal offense; or
- Remaining in a structure without an authorization or privilege to do so for the purpose of committing a crime.
What this means, essentially, is that for the state to prove a burglary offense beyond a reasonable doubt, it needs to show that the alleged actor not only entered into a place or structure without the authority or clearance to do so, but that the actor also had the knowledge or intent that he or she would commit a crime once they entered the structure. Often times, the best defense to burglary charges is defeating the state’s proof of intent or culpable mental state.
Burglary is always an indictable felony offense. For this reason, burglary charges are always heard at the Union County Superior Court, located at 2 Broad Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07201.
Grading of Burglary Charges and Enhancement Factors
Burglary is typically a Third Degree crime punishable by up to 5 years in jail. A third degree burglary is enhanced to a Second Degree crime where the defendant threatens, attempts or actually causes bodily injury during the course of a burglary.
A second degree burglary also arises under N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2 when a burglary is committed by someone who is armed or displays what appears to be a deadly weapon or explosives. A second degree felony involves a period of jail time between 5 and 10 years.
Facing Burglary Charges in Elizabeth, NJ?
If you or a loved one was arrested on a burglary charge, you have a serious issue to deal with. These charges are always felony in nature, give rise to significant potential jail exposure, and are indictable cases heard at the Union County Superior Court in Elizabeth, NJ. A seasoned defense lawyer is an absolute must, and this is precisely what can be delivered by the attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall. Do not hesitate to contact us if you require an attorney or have questions regarding a Union County burglary charge. An attorney is available now at 1-800-289-7138.