Lodi NJ Burglary Attorneys 

Criminal Defense Lawyers with Offices in Hackensack, New Jersey

Burglary is a serious felony charge in New Jersey that will be prosecuted by the County Prosecutor’s office in the county in which you have been charged. Burglary typically involves homes or businesses but it can also involve entering a motor vehicle with the intent to commit a crime therein. Prosecutors have a lot of flexibility in these cases, and they often file burglary charges against individuals who enter a home or commercial building when the homeowner or building owner claims that the other person did not have permission to be there. Basically, if authorities believe that you went to the property for the purpose of committing a theft, or some other crime, you can expect to be charged with burglary and face severe consequences that may include prison time. What could this mean for you? To learn more about the burglary law in New Jersey, watch the video and keep reading.

At the Tormey Law Firm, our seasoned defense attorneys have been handling cases involving shoplifting, theft by deception, and robbery throughout New Jersey for years, including in Montvale, Bergenfield, and Ridgefield Park. In fact, Mr. Tormey was featured in the Daily Record in Morris County regarding shoplifting charges, the immigration consequences, and other potential penalties for those convicted. In addition, some of our lawyers have prosecuted these charges on behalf of the State and now use their training and expertise to defend our clients in court. Call us today at (201)-330-4979 for a free consultation about your case, and please continue reading this page for more information about burglary charges in New Jersey.

Burglary Charges in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2

Burglary in New Jersey is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2, which provides, in pertinent part:

§ 2C:18-2. Burglary
a. Burglary defined. A person is guilty of burglary if, with purpose to commit an offense therein he:

(1) 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; or

(2) 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.

b. Grading. Burglary is a crime of the second degree if in the course of committing the offense, the actor:

(1) Purposely, knowingly or recklessly inflicts, attempts to inflict or threatens to inflict bodily injury on anyone; or

(2) 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.

Burglary Penalties in New Jersey

Burglary is a second degree or third degree indictable criminal offense in New Jersey. Both of these crimes must be handled at the Superior Court in the county in which the alleged offense occurred. The key distinction between the second degree and third degree grading is that a third degree burglary becomes a second degree burglary if anyone is injured as a result of the burglary or the burglar is armed at the time of the offense. A second degree offense has a presumption of incarceration and a state prison range of five to 10 years. By contrast, a third degree offense has a presumption of non-incarceration if you have no prior record. It also has a state prison range of three to five years.

What is the Difference between Burglary and Trespassing in NJ?

It’s a fine line between trespassing and burglary in New Jersey. It is the offender’s intent to commit a crime that transforms the offense from criminal trespassing to burglary. If the offender walked onto private property without permission to be there but did not intend to commit a crime on the premises, they will probably be charged with trespassing. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:18-3, there are categories in which one may trespass according to New Jersey’s statute:

a) Unlicensed entry of structures. A person commits an offense of this nature if he or she knowingly enters an area that he or she is not licensed or privileged to do so. This type of offense is either considered a fourth-degree crime or a disorderly persons offense depending on the type/location of an unlicensed entry highlighted by this subsection of the statute.

b) Defiant trespasser. A person commits a petty disorderly persons offense if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he enters or remains in any place as to which notice against trespass is given by:

(1) Actual communication to the actor; or
(2) Posting in a manner prescribed by law or reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders; or
(3) Fencing or other enclosure manifestly designed to exclude intruders.

c) Peering into windows or other openings of dwelling places. A person commits a crime of the fourth degree if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he peers into a window or other opening of a dwelling or other structure adapted for overnight accommodation for the purpose of invading the privacy of another person and under circumstances in which a reasonable person in the dwelling or other structure would not expect to be observed.

If you have been charged with burglary, as opposed to trespassing, you are in a much more serious predicament in the eyes of the law. This makes a huge difference because burglary is always classified as a felony that carries prison time, while trespassing is usually classified as a disorderly persons offense. Less serious offenses, such as trespassing, are handled in the local municipal court, are heard by a judge. Typically, these charges do not result in the defendant being sentenced to jail time even if convicted at trial, and yet there are still significant repercussions such as heavy fines, community service, probation, and a criminal record. 

Speak with a Mahwah NJ Criminal Defense Lawyer about Your Burglary Charges

For immediate assistance with your burglary or theft charges in New Jersey, contact the offices of The Tormey Law Firm anytime at (201)-330-4979. You can also email us to schedule a free consultation about your case.


If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense, disorderly persons offense, or traffic / DWI violation, you have the right to an attorney who will defend you against your charges and fight for your best interests. To learn more about how your attorney can fight to have your charges dismissed or reduced, click a link below to see our video library of legal defenses and strategies.