Helping Individuals Charged With Burglary in Atlantic County and Camden County, New Jersey
A New Jersey burglary charge is a serious criminal offense, and a conviction can result in high fines, probation, or worse yet, could land you in jail or prison for a significant period of time. You will also have a criminal record that can make it difficult for you to obtain employment, find a place to live, and can tarnish your reputation.
To maximize your chances of avoiding some or all of these harsh consequences, it is important to seek legal representation in your case as early on as possible. That way, your lawyer will have sufficient time before trial to investigate the circumstances of your arrest, interview witnesses, and determine which legal defense or defenses might be applicable in your case.
Haddonfield criminal defense lawyer Matthew V. Portella has a strong track record of success when it comes to defending individuals charged with burglary. Attorney Portella will advocate for you aggressively and help you achieve the best possible result in your pending criminal case.
At its most basic level, burglary in New Jersey means unlawfully entering and/or remaining in a structure that belongs to someone else and which the accused doesn’t have permission to be in. The accused must enter this structure while he or she has the intent to commit a criminal offense or felony therein.
To convict you of burglary, the prosecutor in your criminal case has the burden of proving each of these legal elements beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor fails to satisfy even one of these elements—or if a legal defense negates one or more elements—your burglary charge must be dismissed.
Burglary defense attorney Matthew V. Portella will do everything possible to put forth a legal defense that gets your criminal case dismissed.
Ways of Committing a Burglary in New Jersey
Under the New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2, a person may commit burglary in one of three ways. First, the accused could unlawfully enter someone else’s property. Next, the accused could unlawfully remain on someone else’s property. Finally, the accused could trespass on property that belongs to a New Jersey utility company. Any of these could result in the accused sustaining a burglary charge or conviction.
- Unlawful entry onto another’s property – The court can convict the accused of burglary if he or she enters a structure, part of a structure, or research facility during a time when it is not open for use by the public. The accused must do so without the property owner’s permission—and while intending to commit a criminal offense on the property.
- Unlawfully remaining on a property – The accused may also be convicted of burglary if he or she remains in a structure, a part of a structure, or a research facility, while the accused has knowledge that he or she is not permitted to be there at that time.
- Unlawfully trespassing on a property that belongs to a utility company – The accused may be convicted of unlawfully trespassing on utility company property if a notice is posted on the property prohibiting trespassers from entering thereon—or if the notice is posted on a fence or other structure, in hopes of dissuading intruders from entering upon the property.
If you have been charged with committing any of these types of burglary, you should call the defense law firm of Matthew V. Portella as soon as possible for assistance defending against your charge.
Guilty Findings and Penalties
For you to suffer penalties as a result of a burglary in New Jersey, you must first be found guilty and convicted of the crime. Once that occurs, sentencing in your case will be left up to a judge. The sentence is typically determined at a sentencing hearing that follows the trial.
A conviction for any of the New Jersey burglary charges noted above is a third-degree criminal offense in the State. Consequently, a judge could sentence you to between three and five years of incarceration, along with a fine in the amount of $15,000.
However, you could be charged with a second-degree criminal offense if you do any one of the following during the course of the burglary:
- You are armed with a weapon or you display what looks like a deadly weapon—or explosives—while you are committing the burglary crime.
- You knowingly (or purposely) threatened—or attempted—to inflict serious bodily injury or harm on another person during the commission of the burglary.
A conviction for second-degree burglary in New Jersey can result in a maximum 10-year prison sentence, along with a monetary fine of $150,000.
It is also important to realize that New Jersey has the No Early Release Act under N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2 that applies to certain crimes, including burglary. This means that an offender will need to serve at least 85 percent of their prison sentence before being eligible for parole. If you recieve a 10-year sentence, you will need to serve at least 8.5 years before you can possibly be released.
Haddonfield criminal defense attorney Matthew V. Portella can represent you at a criminal sentencing hearing and argue on your behalf for a lighter penalty including lesser jail or prison time. A lighter penalty might include a period of probation rather than incarceration or imprisonment, or a reduction in the amount of time that you must serve in prison.
Defenses to a New Jersey Burglary Charge
A defense to a burglary charge, if successful, could result in your charge, as well as your case, being dismissed in its entirety. Some defenses to burglary that might apply in your case include:
- Lack of the necessary specific intent to commit the burglary crime
- Mistaken identity as to the person who committed the offense
- Permission from the property owner to enter the structure in question
Criminal defense attorney Matthew V. Portella can determine if these defenses, or any others, could be applicable to the facts of your case.
Contact a Haddonfield Burglary Lawyer Today
A burglary conviction in Haddonfield can have negative—and far-reaching—consequences on both your professional and your personal life. If you’ve been charged with burglary, Haddonfield criminal defense attorney Matthew V. Portella may be able to assist you.
To schedule a free consultation or case evaluation with a Haddonfield burglary lawyer, please call the Law Office of Matthew V. Portella, LLC, at (856) 310-9800 or contact us online.
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“I want to thank Mr. Portella for taking my case. What an amazing law office and attorney. He is very professional and got all of my charges dismissed. If I ever need an attorney again, Mr. Portella will be the one I call. Thank you again! -A.M.”