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Union County NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers

Over 200 Years Combined Experience

Former County & Municipal Prosecutors


Elizabeth NJ Burglary Defense Lawyers

Burglary is one of the more common theft offenses an individual can face in Union County. If you have been charged with burglary, your case will be referred to the county courthouse in the City of Elizabeth. The reason is because the Union County Superior Court has exclusive jurisdiction to decide indictable criminal charges, including second degree and third degree crimes for burglary. Whether the alleged car, house, apartment or commercial break-in took place in Linden, Plainfield, Roselle, Hillside or Rahway, the case will be dealt with in Elizabeth. The lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are seasoned advocates with over a century of combined criminal experience defending burglary charges. Several of the attorneys on our eight member defense team are former county or municipal prosecutors. Initial consultations with an attorney at the firm are free of charge. To speak to a lawyer anytime 24/7, contact our Union Township Office at 908-272-1700.

Union County Burglary Offense

The New Jersey Burglary Law is contained at N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2. The statute defines burglary as:

  1. The unauthorized entry into a structure for the purpose of committing a criminal offense; or
  2. Remaining in a structure without an authorization or privilege to do so for the purpose of committing a crime.

Burglary only applies to entry into a “structure”. The criminal code defines “structure” as a building, room, boat, car, airplane and locations that have been adapted for overnight accommodation of persons or business. The term also encompasses separately secured or occupied portions of a structure such as other units in an apartment, rooms in a hotel, storage facility or office building. The entry must be “unauthorized” to result in a burglary so entry into an area open to the public or where there is a privilege or license to enter cannot trigger this offense. The final requirement in order for burglary to arise is an intention to commit an offense in the structure including, but not limited to, a theft, elude the police, criminal mischief, assault or any other violation of the law.

Material Elements of Offense. Based on the language of 2C:18-2 and the concepts previously described, four elements of proof must be established to prove a burglary charge including: (1) entry by the accused; (2) into a structure; (3) which is not open to the public or to which there is no license or privilege; and (4) for the purpose of committing an offense.

Grading & Penalties for Burglary Charges. As previously indicated, burglary is always an indictable felony crime. As such, cases involving the offense may only be heard at the Union County Superior Court, located at 2 North Broad Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07201. Burglary is typically a third degree crime. What this means is that someone convicted of third degree burglary faces a fine of up to $15,000 and a state prison sentence of up to 5 years. A burglary is enhanced to a second degree crime where the actor threatens, attempts or actually causes bodily injury during the course of a burglary or where entry occurs while armed with any form of deadly weapon. Second degree burglary carries a maximum fine of $150,000 and 5-10 years in jail/prison. The No Early Release Act is triggered where burglary is in the second degree. What this means is that you will have to serve 85% of the prison sentence imposed before you may be considered for parole if you plead or are found guilty of second degree burglary.

Graves Act Applies Where A Firearm Is Involved. The Graves Act imposes special sentencing requirements when a criminal offense such as a burglary is committed with a firearm. This holds true whether the entry was while armed in this manner or if the actor takes or removes a firearm from a structure.

Union Township Burglary Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one was arrested in Union Township on allegation of a burglary, you have a serious issue to deal with. This charge is a felony that always involves significant penalty exposure. This is the case whether the theft involves unauthorized entry into a car or someone’s house/apartment. You therefore need to take the case against you very serious and retain the very best defense attorney you can find. Our firm, The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, is a highly qualified option in terms of candidates to represent you. We have handled too many burglary cases to even quantify and know all the angles to achieve a favorable outcome. One of the lawyers on our staff is available immediate to discuss the charge that was filed Union, Summit, Springfield, Roselle Park, Cranford or elsewhere in Union County. Do not hesitate to contact us if you require a lawyer or have questions regarding a burglary charge. An attorney is available now at 908-272-1700.