Newark, New Jersey Burglary and Criminal Trespass Defense Attorney
Burglary is the illegal entry into a building that was not open to the public and which you had no right to enter, for the purposes of committing a crime in the premises. The grade of this crime depends on whether you caused or attempted to cause bodily injury to someone, and whether you were armed with a deadly weapon when you entered the building. These factors not only make the crime of Burglary a more serious crime, you can also be charged with additional crimes for causing the injury or for having the weapon.
If you are under investigation for, or charged with the crime of Burglary, consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer before making any statements or deciding how to resolve this charge. Call Howard Bailey at 973-982-1200 for a free consultation to learn your options to protect your freedom.
Defending a Burglary Charge
A successful defense starts with an examination of whether the building was ‘open to the public’ at the time you entered it. A defense investigation of the location needs to be conducted to determine what type of posting, fencing, locks or barriers were in place when the offense allegedly occurred. In addition, a determination needs to be made whether the general public used the premises on a regular basis as a ‘passageway’ through to another area, and whether the owner ever filed complaints against people who used it as a ‘passageway’. Was it common practice to allow entry to the location, such that you reasonably believed you were ‘licensed’ or ‘privileged’ to enter the area?
A third issue that needs to be examined is whether there is evidence that you actually entered the location with the purpose to commit an offense in the building other than the mere entry. In a recent case, Howard Bailey represented a juvenile client charged with Burglary of a house under construction. The defense investigation established that the building was unsecured, with no signs posted, no doors or locks installed, and that the entire neighborhood used the location as a short-cut between two adjoining streets. After trial, the charge was dismissed when the prosecution could not establish the elements of the charge.
Can the Charge be Downgraded to Criminal Trespass?
If you enter into a building that was not open to the public and you had no right or privilege to enter the premises, you can be charged with the crime of trespass. This crime does not require that you had the intention of committing a crime inside the building. The grade of the charge will depend on the nature of the building, and you can raise the defense that the building was abandoned. These are issues that you should discuss with your defense lawyer to see if this lesser offense is a possible downgrade to the charge of Burglary.
If you are charged with a crime, consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney before making any decisions about how to resolve your case. Call Howard Bailey at 973-982-1200 for a free consultation.