In New Jersey, it is unlawful to intentionally deprive another person of their property or assets without permission. You may hear terms such as “burglary” and “robbery” used in reference to these types of criminal offenses. However, it is important to understand in New Jersey that burglary and robbery each have different legal meanings.
These terms refer to separate criminal offenses. Here, our New Jersey criminal defense lawyer provides an overview of the differences between burglary charges and robbery charges.
An Overview of Burglary Charges in New Jersey
Were you or a loved one accused of burglary in New Jersey? It is crucial that you know exactly how the charge works. The state’s criminal statute of burglary is N.J.S.A. 2C: 18-2. Here are the most important things to understand about the statute:
The Definition of Burglary
N.J.S.A. 2C: 18-2 defines burglary as follows: “A person is guilty of burglary if, with the purpose to commit an offense therein or thereon he:
- Enters a research facility, structure, or a separately secured or occupied portion thereof unless the structure was at the time open to the public or the actor is licensed or privileged to enter;
- Surreptitiously remains in a research facility, structure, or a separately secured or occupied portion thereof knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so; or
- Trespasses in or upon utility company property where public notice prohibiting trespass is given by conspicuous posting, or fencing or other enclosure manifestly designed to exclude intruders.”
The Severity of a Burglary Charge
In New Jersey, burglary is charged as either a second-degree offense or a third-degree offense. The grading of these charges is determined in the following manner:
“Burglary is a crime of the second degree if in the course of committing the offense, the actor:
- Purposely, knowingly, or recklessly inflicts, attempts to inflict, or threatens to inflict bodily injury on anyone; or
- Is armed with or displays what appear to be explosives or a deadly weapon.
Otherwise, burglary is a crime of the third degree. An act shall be deemed “in the course of committing” an offense if it occurs in an attempt to commit an offense or in immediate flight after the attempt or commission.”
The Statutory Penalties for Second and Third Degree Burglary Offenses
The penalties associated with a burglary offense in New Jersey will depend, in large part, on whether the crime is charged as a second-degree offense or a third-degree offense:
- A second-degree burglary charge carries penalties of five (5) to ten (10) years in prison and a maximum $150,000 fine; there is also a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of 85% of the number of years in the sentence which must be served before being released from prison pursuant to New Jersey’s No Early Release Act (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2).
- A third-degree burglary charge carries penalties of three (3) to five (5) years in prison and a maximum $15,000 fine.
An Overview of Robbery Charges in New Jersey
If you or your loved one has been accused of or charged with robbery, it is imperative that you understand how the crime is defined and punished under state law. Robbery charges in New Jersey fall under N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1.
The Definition of Robbery
N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 defines robbery as follows: “A person is guilty of robbery if, in the course of committing a theft, he:
- Inflicts bodily injury or uses force upon another; or
- Threatens another with or purposely puts him in fear of immediate bodily injury; or
- Commits or threatens immediately to commit any crime of the first or second degree.
An act shall be deemed to be included in the phrase “in the course of committing a theft” if it occurs in an attempt to commit theft or in immediate flight after the attempt or commission.”
The Severity of a Robbery Charge
In New Jersey, robbery can be graded as a second-degree offense or a most serious first-degree offense. The classification of a robbery charge is based on the following key factors:
“b. Grading. Robbery is a crime of the second degree, except that it is a crime of the first degree if in the course of committing the theft the actor attempts to kill anyone, purposely inflicts or attempts to inflict serious bodily injury, or is armed with, or uses or threatens the immediate use of a deadly weapon.”
The Statutory Penalties for First and Second Degree Robbery Offenses
The penalties that a defendant will face after a robbery conviction will depend on several factors, including the classification of the charge:
- A first-degree robbery offense carries penalties of ten (10) to twenty (20) years in prison and a maximum $200,000 fine;
- A second-degree robbery offense carries penalties of five (5) to ten (10) years in prison and a maximum $150,000 fine.
Notably, robbery convictions are subject to the New Jersey No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2 which holds that “A court imposing a sentence of incarceration for a crime of the first or second degree enumerated in subsection d. of this section shall fix a minimum term of 85% of the sentence imposed, during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.”
Were You Arrested and Charged With Burglary or Robbery in New Jersey?
Our firm is here to help. At the Law Office of Matthew V. Portella, LLC, our New Jersey criminal defense lawyer, Matthew V. Portella, has aggressively defended the rights of clients for more than 25 years. If you or your loved one was arrested for burglary or robbery, he can help. Give us a call or use our confidential contact form to schedule your initial consultation. With offices in Haddonfield and Pleasantville, we defend criminal charges throughout New Jersey, including in Atlantic County, Camden County, Burlington County, Gloucester County, Cumberland County, and Salem County.