New Jersey Juvenile Burglary Charges – NJSA 2C:18-2
Defense Attorney for NJ Juvenile Burglary Arrests
If your child has been accused of breaking into cars or homes in New Jersey, call to speak with an experienced juvenile defense attorney. I have defended juveniles against burglary charges and much worse offenses. I defend juvenile clients in every New Jersey County Family Court. The first step in the defense process is to conduct a preliminary investigation by interviewing the child and in many cases also with the investigating officers or detectives. Next, we obtain the discovery (evidence) in your child’s case from the county prosecutor’s office and coordinate the court dates.
Before charging the juvenile, police normally communicate with county officials to determine whether the juvenile will be released to their parents custody or placed in detention. If the decision is made to detain the child, a detention hearing must be held within days. It is important to obtain experienced legal counsel for the detention hearing to maximize your child’s chances of being released.
The first court date after the detention hearing is usually termed a “counsel-mandatory plea hearing.” This hearing is similar to an arraignment in adult court. The only requirement at this hearing is that a plea be entered. However, it is common in many cases to resolve the charges and disposition at this hearing as well. The juvenile justice process is slower and more formal than municipal court, but slightly less so than adult Superior Court.
Give my office a call if your son or daughter is under investigation or has been charged with burglary. It may be possible to have the charges dismissed or downgraded, or to minimize your child’s exposure. My main office is centrally located in Freehold, but we also have several offices by appointment only across New Jersey for your convenience.
NJ Burglary Law
There are several distinct ways a juvenile can be charged with a burglary in New Jersey. The first is if he or she enters into any “structure” that was not open to the pubic at the time of entry. Also, if the juvenile enters the location while the place is open to the public but then remains hidden inside while it closes, he or she is also liable under the Burglary statute. In some cases, what would normally be considered a mere trespass may be considered a burglary. This applies to situations including trespassing onto the property utility company (think climbing water towers and the like).
The degrees of burglary vary but it is normally a third-degree crime. In other states, this would be considered a felony, although we do not use the term “felony” in New Jersey. An adult convicted of a third-degree burglary faces between 3-5 years in prison, while a juvenile faces a maximum of two years of detention in most cases. A juvenile judge may also consider a wide-range of other penalties including probation and community service. However, burglary carries second-degree exposure if the juvenile hurts someone while committing the burglary, either purpose, knowingly or recklessly. It is also a second degree if the juvenile is in possession of a weapon at the time of the offense.