If you’re convicted of criminal trespassing in New Jersey, you could be met with harsh consequences so understanding your legal charges, as well as your options, is important.
What is Criminal Trespassing?
Criminal trespassing refers to entering a property in which you don’t have permission. Criminal trespassing in New Jersey can be categorized as either a disorderly persons offense or a felony. If charged as a disorderly persons offense, you could be subject to up to six months in jail and receive a permanent criminal record. If charged as a felony, you could be met with up to 18 months in prison.
New Jersey law divides criminal trespassing into three types, which include:
Unlicensed Entry of Structures
Unlicensed entry of structures refers to a person entering a building without permission. This often leads to a fourth-degree trespassing charge, which can mean up to six months in jail and legal fines up to $1,000.
Unlawful Peering into Windows
Unlawful peering into windows refers to someone peeping. This may also lead to a fourth-degree criminal offense, with the same punishment of fines and jail as an unlicensed entry of structures.
A defiant trespasser is someone who trespasses despite having explicit notice to stay away, which may be a verbal warning or a notice not to enter. It may also include a no trespassing sign. This is a petty disorderly persons offense, which can lead to up to 30 days in jail and legal fines of up to $1,000.
Regardless of the type of trespassing that you receive, you could also be subject to additional legal consequences. You may be subject to financial restitution to the property owner for any damage that you cause. You may also have your driver’s license suspended, depending on the details of the charges.
Many factors go into the actual charges you receive, including whether or not you have prior offenses. If this is the first charge, you may have more defense options available. You may also argue that you weren’t aware that entering the property was considered unlawful. This is harder to do if you have prior offenses, especially ones that involve criminal trespassing. Even other priors can affect the legal charges you receive.
Why You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Criminal trespassing may frequently be classified as a disorderly persons charge, but it can still lead to jail time or fines. Additionally, even if your required jail time is minimal, you may be left with a permanent criminal record. This may show up when applying for jobs or professional licenses. It could even affect your current employment if they find out about your charges.
Don’t let a minor misunderstanding affect your future. You need a criminal defense lawyer who understands New Jersey’s laws and your available defense options. If this is your first offense, it’s even more important to choose the right representation to protect your clean record. Criminal trespassing is often one person’s word against another’s. However, collecting available evidence is an important part of building your defense.
Contact an Experienced Pemberton Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Criminal Trespassing Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with criminal trespassing in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The Law Offices of Michele Finizio have successfully represented clients charged with criminal trespassing in Mount Laurel, Pemberton, Willingboro, Cherry Hill, and throughout New Jersey. Call (609) 230-0374 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 9 E. Main St, Moorestown, NJ 08057, as well as an office located in Cherry Hill, NJ.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.
Disorderly conduct consists of any improper behavior such as fighting, threats of violence, or creating a dangerous atmosphere.