Juvenile Burglary

Juvenile Burglary Attorneys in Hudson County, New Jersey

Most individuals, adults and juveniles included, in Hudson County are familiar with the term burglary, yet they do not fully understand the elements of the offense or the penalties associated with it. Burglary could be most simply defined as unlawfully breaking and entering into a the structure of another with the intent to commit an offense while inside. Burglary is considered a felony offense that will result in either a second or third degree gradation. As a second degree offense, a juvenile who is convicted of burglary may face up to three (3) years in a juvenile detention center known as Jamesburg. The Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall has been representing juvenile’s charged with aggravated assault, cocaine possession, robbery, theft of services and heroin distribution in towns like Jersey City, Weehawken, Harrison, Bayonne, North Bergen and West New York for over fifteen years. Our team of Hudson County, NJ criminal lawyers have the juvenile defense experience required to protect your child’s future. As you can tell from above, the severity of a burglary charge, it is imperative that you speak to an experienced Hudson County, NJ juvenile burglary lawyer as soon as possible, as key vital evidence (ie surveillance video’s) dissipate quickly if not preserved. If you have been charged with such a crime, then a competent defense counsel is in your best interest.  Our attorneys are available 24/7 at (201) 309-1800 to answer any of your questions. Now here is some key information on the offense of burglary, including what distinguishes a second from a third degree.

Juvenile Attorney for a Burglary Charge in Hudson County, NJ?

Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2, there are three (3) ways for the State to convict a person of burglary:

  1. If someone 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;
  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; or
  3. 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.

However, merely entering or remaining within a structure is insufficient to warrant a conviction for burglary. The State must also prove that the juvenile intended or had the purpose to commit an offense while in the structure. The State need not prove that the offense necessarily occurred, but rather the juvenile intended to commit such an offense. In determining the intent of the juvenile, the fact finder may infer from all surrounding circumstances of juvenile’s actions in entering the structure that the juvenile intended to commit the alleged offense. Additionally, if a structure is open to the public upon entry with intent to commit an offense, the juvenile may still be liable for burglary depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Is Burglary for a Juvenile a Felony in Hoboken, NJ?

Burglary is generally graded as a third degree indictable offense (i.e. “felony”) assuming the above mentioned elements of the offense are met. However, under certain circumstances, as set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2, a juvenile may be charged with burglary in the second degree. The following two instances will mandate a second degree felony burglary charge provided that they occurred in the course of the burglary:

  1. The juvenile purposely, knowingly or recklessly inflicts, attempts to inflict or threatens to inflict bodily injury on anyone.
  2. The juvenile Is armed with or displays what appears to be explosives or a deadly weapon.

If these circumstances can are not present then 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. New Jersey courts, particularly Hudson County, have handled a great deal of second degree burglary cases involving “armed” suspects. The juvenile do not necessarily need to be armed upon entry but can instead arm themselves while committing the offense inside the structure and this will satisfy the elements of a second degree offense for burglary.

Will My Child Go to Prison for Burglary?

For juvenile offenders, a second degree burglary offense will carry up to three (3) years of confinement, while a third degree offense will carry up to two (2) years of confinement.  However, where the criminal offense in question is a serious matter, the court may treat the juvenile as an adult. If convicted of burglary in the second degree as an adult, the juvenile will face five (5) to ten (10) years in a New Jersey State Prison, as well as a fine up to $150,000.00. If convicted of burglary in the third degree as an adult, the juvenile will face three (3) to five (5) years of imprisonment as well as a fine up to $15,000.00. Additionally, a second degree offense for burglary will carry a presumption of incarceration and they will also subject to the No Early Release Act, which requires a defendant to serve at least 85% of their sentence before the can become eligible for parole. However, a third degree offense for burglary will carry a presumption of non-incarceration. This distinction can make the difference between walking away from a conviction with a fine or leaving in handcuffs.

When applying these penalties to a minor or juvenile, the court will typically display more leniency at sentencing. Juveniles are often sentenced to terms of probation, fines or mandatory community service, as minors are considered to be at such a transformative period of their life. Rather than placing said minors in juvenile detention centers, the courts typically prefer to off these juveniles an opportunity to rehabilitate outside the confines of a State detention center. Of critical importance in these sentencing proceedings will be the juvenile’s criminal history. First-time offenders are more likely to receive leniency at sentencing, as opposed to repeat offenders.

Hudson County NJ Juvenile Criminal Defense Firm

The Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall is an experienced Hudson County juvenile defense firm. Our office has over 100 years of combined experience on staff, including over twenty-five years of prior prosecuting experience. If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offense like carjacking, aggravated assault, stalking or terroristic threats, we can help. For more information, please contact our Jersey City office directly at (201) 309-1800 for a free consultation.