Make no mistake, burglarizing a car is just as illegal as burglarizing a house. In fact, in New Jersey, the law does not even make a distinction when it comes to the severity of the charge you will receive. This means you will be punished just as severely regardless of whether you broke into a car, home, or other structure.
If you were charged with any kind of burglary in New Jersey, make sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you avoid a conviction.
What is Car Burglary?
In New Jersey, all kinds of burglaries are prohibited under N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2.
Out of the three main ways burglary is criminalized in New Jersey, two of them relate to automobiles:
- burglary based on entering
- burglary based on remaining.
When it comes to burglary based on entering, if you enter a “structure” or separately secured or occupied portion of a “structure” at a time not open to the public and do so without permission and for the purpose of committing an offense inside, you can be convicted of burglary.
Likewise, you can be convicted of burglary based on remaining if you surreptitiously remain in a “structure” or separately secured or occupied portion of a “structure” while knowing that you are not allowed to do so.
The key point to remember is that the law considers a car to be a “structure” when it comes to burglary.
Whether you break into a Winnebago or RV and attempt to steal something inside or simply open an unlocked car door to take a GPS, you can be convicted of burglary. Similarly, although rarely prosecuted, if you sleep in someone else’s car without their permission while knowing full-well that you are not allowed to be there, you could also be charged with burglary in New Jersey. Remember, it is exceedingly rare for this second type to occur, but it does happen when people are in dire straits.
Penalties Auto Burglary in New Jersey
As we explained, car burglary is penalized like any other burglary. Car burglary in NJ can either be a third degree or second degree crime. Generally, car burglary is a third degree crime. If convicted, you can be fined up to $15,000 and serve 3-5 years in prison.
However, if you purposefully, knowingly, or recklessly attempt to inflict or threaten to inflict bodily injury on anyone during the commission of a burglary, you could be charged with a second degree crime. For example, if a person is inside the vehicle that you plan on burglarizing and you try to physically harm or threaten him, you could be charged with second degree burglary.
Similarly, if you are armed or display what appears to be an explosive or deadly weapon, you could also be charged with a second degree crime. If convicted of a second degree crime, you can be imprisoned for up to 10 years and forced to pay a $100,000 fine.
It is crucial to remember, that an unsuccessful crime is still a crime. If you are caught before you make off with the goods, you can still be convicted and found guilty. Ultimately, be sure to hire an experienced attorney who can help you avoid a conviction.
Who Should You Contact?
If you or a loved one was charged with car burglary in New Jersey, contact Adam H. Rosenblum of The Rosenblum Law Firm today. Mr. Rosenblum is a skilled criminal defense attorney who has helped people in similar situations. He will defend your constitutional rights, fight to keep you out of jail, and do what he can to have your car burglary charges dismissed. E-mail or call him today at 888-815-3649.