Trespassing Attorney Gloucester Township, NJ
NJ Criminal Defense Lawyer Represents Clients Charged with Trespassing in Camden County and Burlington County, New Jersey
Trespassing —or unlawfully entering another’s property without adequate justification or licensure — is a criminal offense with potentially significant penalties. Despite the fact that trespassing is a crime in New Jersey (as in other states), there is a great deal of misinformation floating around about what it is and how it is prosecuted. In reality, the criminal offense of trespassing is dynamic, and penalties range from minor to severe, depending on the surrounding circumstances.
Michele Finizio is a South Jersey criminal defense attorney who has more than a decade of experience defending clients against criminal charges, including those that involve criminal trespassing claims. If you have been charged with trespassing in Gloucester Township, Camden, Cherry Hill, Deptford, or anywhere else in South Jersey, contact our office as soon as possible. Call (856) 242-7300 today for a free consultation.
Three Forms of Trespassing in New Jersey
New Jersey statutory law delineates three primary subcategories of criminal trespass. Each is quite different from one another, though they share certain common elements, such as unlawful and unlicensed entry.
Defiant trespassing is a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey. You can be found criminally liable as a defiant trespasser if you were given proper notice against engaging in the trespass — for example, by virtue of verbal warnings, non-verbal warnings (signs), or even implicit warnings (fences).
Defiant trespassing gives rise to minimal penalties. If you are found guilty of defiant trespassing in NJ, you will be subject to penalties that include up to 30 days of jail time and up to $500 in fines.
Entering a Structure Without a License
By contrast, trespassing by unlawful/unlicensed entry of a structure is a much more serious offense. As a general rule, entering a structure is considered a more severe violation of privacy (and safety) than simply entering upon freehold land. In New Jersey, a court may find you liable for this form of trespass if you enter or remain upon the property at issue.
Unlawful entry can result in penalties of up to six months imprisonment in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. If the structure is a dwelling, research facility, or school, however, then the trespassing crime will be “upgraded” and may result in penalties of up to 18 months imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines.
Peering as Trespassing
Peering is not considered criminal “trespassing” per se, but it is generally deemed a trespassing-adjacent crime in New Jersey. Peering is an invasion of the reasonable privacy of another by virtue of looking inside a structure — unlicensed and without consent.
In order for liability to attach, the persons inside must have a reasonable expectation of privacy due to the structure. For example, a transparent, glass house would likely not afford the residents a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Peering is a serious crime in NJ that could result in penalties of up to 18 months imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines.
Common Defenses to Trespassing in Maple Shade, NJ
If you have been charged with criminal trespassing in South Jersey, you have a number of potential defenses available to you. These defenses include:
Consent Was Given
In some cases, the property owner may have given their explicit or implicit consent for you to enter their property. For example, if the property owner opened their property to a public viewing, then you cannot be held liable for trespassing unless the owner specifically requested that you leave the premises (and you chose to remain).
Entry Was Justified by Circumstances
Certain circumstances justify an entry, even without the consent of the property owner. If you were in danger of severe injury or death, for example, then you may have had the legitimate right to force an entry onto another’s party, even though you were not technically “allowed” to enter.
Property Was Abandoned
Generally speaking, when property is clearly abandoned, the State will not seek to attach criminal liability for your trespass.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced South Jersey Criminal Lawyer About Your Trespassing Charges in Camden, NJ
South Jersey criminal lawyer Michele Finizio has spent over a decade representing the interests of the accused in a range of criminal litigation, from drug offenses to property crimes and unlawful entry offenses such as trespassing. Attorney Finizio believes in personalized, client-oriented legal representation. As such, she works closely with clients to ensure that the lines of communication are kept open and that their litigation objectives are properly aligned.
Understandably, being charged with a criminal offense in New Jersey can be quite a challenging, emotional experience. The stakes are high, after all. You want an ally who not only understands how difficult the process of criminal litigation can be for a defendant, but who is willing to fight aggressively on your behalf. Camden criminal attorney Michele Finizio prides herself on skillfully and aggressively representing the interests of her clients at all stages of litigation.
Call (856) 242-7300 or submit an online contact form to get connected to Attorney Finizio today and discuss your NJ trespassing charges. The initial consultation is free, and all discussions are fully confidential.