Burglary

Mercer County NJ Burglary Lawyer

Local Lawyer in Mercer County for Burglary Charge

Burglary is a serious felony offense in New Jersey. If convicted, a Defendant could be facing up to ten years in a State Prison and a fine up to $150,000. Furthermore, pursuant to the new bail guidelines that came into effect in 2017, a Defendant could be held without bail, pending trial, if the circumstances warrant such. Burglary charges in Mercer County have been on the rise ever since the heroin epidemic started sweeping through New Jersey. As you will see below, burglary can be either a second or third degree felony offense in New Jersey. The circumstances surrounding the charges will dictate what degree of burglary a Defendant is charged with. The difference between the two could be the difference between a ten year prison sentence and a probationary period, even possibly a diversionary program.

Need Local Attorney in Trenton for Burglary Charge

If you have been charged with a criminal offense like burglary, robbery, theft by deception, trespassing, heroin possession or unlawful possession of a weapon in Mercer County, the Law Offices of Proetta & Oliver can help. Our office routinely appears in courts throughout Mercer County including the Hamilton Municipal Court, the Princeton Municipal Court, the Lawrence Municipal Court, the Ewing Municipal Court, the East Windsor Municipal Court, the West Windsor Municipal Court and the Mercer County Superior Court. Mr. Oliver hears up the firms Mercer County practice. Throughout his career, Mr. Oliver has represented countless clients who had been charged with burglary in New Jersey.  His entire career, like Mr. Proetta, has been dedicated to defending those accused of crimes in New Jersey. If you would like to come into our office and have a free initial consultation with Mr. Oliver then please contact us directly at (609) 789-0779. We fully understand that being charged with a criminal offense can be very stressful therefore we are available 24/7 to help assist in anyway possible.

What to Know About Burglary Charges in Mercer County

Under the New Jersey Criminal Code, the offense of burglary is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2. In an effort to simplify things, an individual will be charged with burglary if they unlawful enter or unlawful remain in a structure, with the intent to commit a crime therein. In other words, it is basically a combination of two separate offenses happening in concert with one another. A common example would be when an individual commits a trespassing offense and a theft offense in succession. As long as the offense was committed inside a structure, the individual will be charged with burglary. 

Elements for a Burglary Offense in New Jersey

As indicated above, the offense of burglary is broken down into two different subsections. What subsection an individual is charged under will depend directly upon the underlying facts of the incident. In order to be convicted of this offense, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following elements:

Burglary in the 3rd Degree Case:

  • The Defendant entered the “structure” without permission; &
  • That the Defendant entered the “structure” with the purpose to commit an offense once inside.

Burglary in the 2nd Degree Case:

  • The Defendant entered the “structure” without permission; &
  • That the Defendant entered the “structure” with the purpose to commit an offense once inside; &
    • While doing so, the Defendant purposely, knowingly or recklessly inflicts or threatens to inflict bodily injury to anyone; Or
    • While doing so, the Defendant was armed with or displayed a deadly weapon.

What Will Be Considered a “Structure”?

One of the key phrases mentioned above is “structure”. In order to truly understand what the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, one must understand what will be classified as a “structure”. Pursuant to NJSA 2C:18-3, a structure has been defined as “any building,  room, ship, vessel, car, vehicle, airplane, or any place adapted for overnight accommodation”. As you can see, the legislature chose to leave the definition extremely vaguely. 

The Crime of Burglary is ALWAYS Considered a Felony Offense in NJ

The offense of burglary is either a second or third degree indictable offense, which is New Jersey’s version of a felony. The difference between the potential sentences is drastic. A second degree felony offense conviction carries with it a presumption of imprisonment. That in essences means that a Defendant will almost certainly go to a New Jersey State Prison if convicted. Conversely, a third degree felony offense carries a presumption of non-imprisonment. With that being said, the presumption can be overcome and it does not apply to any potential county jail sentences. Here is a breakdown in the difference between a second and third degree burglary conviction.

Penalties for a 2nd Degree Burglary

  • 5 to 10 Years in a New Jersey State Prison;
    • The No Early Release Act applies – Defendant must serve at least 85% of their sentence  before they can become eligible for parole.
  • Up to $150,000 Fine;
  • Felony Criminal Record.

Penalties for  a 3rd Degree Burglary

  • 3 to 5  Years in a New Jersey State Prison;
  • Up to $15,000 Fine;
  • Felony Criminal Record.

How is Bail Set For a Burglary Charge in Mercer County NJ

Based on New Jersey’s new bail guidelines, if an individual is charged with under what is known as a Complaint-Warrant, then they must be taken to the Mercer County Jail so that Pretrial Services can conduct their risk assessment. That risk assessment will then be used by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office to determine whether or not the individual will be released at their Central Judicial Processing Hearing. If the individual is not released that means that the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office will be seeking to try and keep them detained, without bail, pending trial. Before that can occur the individual must undergo a formal detention hearing. During that hearing the Judge will hear arguments from both sides as to bail and then they will be required to make a decision on whether the individual is entitled to bail. For more information on bail hearings in Mercer County, please click the link.

Need to Speak to a Burglary Defense Lawyer about Incident in Ewing NJ

As you have seen, burglary is a very serious criminal offense and one that needs to be handled by an experienced Mercer County criminal defense attorney. If you have been arrested and charged with theft by deception, shoplifting, theft, burglary, robbery, terroristic threats, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose or unlawful possession of a weapon, the attorneys at Proetta & Oliver can help. Our office serves all of Mercer County including towns like Hightstown, Trenton, West Windsor, East Windsor, Ewing, Princeton, Hopewell and Lawerenceville. To schedule a free initial consultation today please contact us at (609) 789-0779. We are available around the clock to help assist in any way possible.