Morristown Trespassing Charges Lawyer
Criminal Defense Attorneys Near Me in Morris County, New Jersey
Victims in New Jersey trespassing cases often ask prosecutors to seek the maximum possible punishments. As a result, a trespassing charge in New Jersey can carry severe penalties, including heavy fines and lengthy prison sentences. The Tormey Law Firm is an experienced group of Criminal Trespassing lawyers who have extensive experience representing clients charged with trespassing and other criminal offenses, such as burglary, criminal mischief, theft, and shoplifting throughout Morris County and New Jersey, including in Hanover, Morris Township, Dover, Madison, Denville, and Morristown.
Our managing partner, Travis J. Tormey, was featured in the Daily Record in Morris County regarding several shoplifting cases he handled and the immigration consequences and penalties involved. In other words, we have what it takes to successfully combat the trespassing charges you are facing. If you or a loved one has been charged with trespassing or another criminal offense in Morris County, New Jersey, contact the skilled criminal defense attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm. You can reach us anytime at (908) 336-5008 for a free consultation or schedule an appointment at our conveniently-located Morristown offices.
Trespassing in New Jersey: N.J.S.A 2C:18-3
Trespassing in New Jersey is a criminal charge governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:18-3, which provides, in pertinent part:
a. Unlicensed entry of structures. A person commits an offense if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he enters or surreptitiously remains in any research facility, structure, or separately secured or occupied portion thereof, or in or upon utility company property. An offense under this subsection is a crime of the fourth degree if it is committed in a school or on school property. The offense is a crime of the fourth degree if it is committed in a dwelling. An offense under this section is a crime of the fourth degree if it is committed in a research facility, power generation facility, waste treatment facility, public sewage facility, water treatment facility, public water facility, nuclear electric generating plant or any facility which stores, generates or handles any hazardous chemical or chemical compounds. An offense under this subsection is a crime of the fourth degree if it is committed in or upon utility company property. Otherwise it is a disorderly persons offense.
b. Defiant trespasser. A person commits a petty disorderly persons offense if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he enters or remains in any place as to which notice against trespass is given by:
(1) Actual communication to the actor; or
(2) Posting in a manner prescribed by law or reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders; or
(3) Fencing or other enclosure manifestly designed to exclude intruders.
c. Peering into windows or other openings of dwelling places. A person commits a crime of the fourth degree if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he peers into a window or other opening of a dwelling or other structure adapted for overnight accommodation for the purpose of invading the privacy of another person and under circumstances in which a reasonable person in the dwelling or other structure would not expect to be observed.
Consequences of a Trespassing Conviction in NJ
Trespassing is a criminal offense in New Jersey. It can be graded as a fourth degree crime or a disorderly persons offense, depending on the circumstances. This is an important distinction because a fourth degree criminal offense is an indictable criminal charge which must be handled at the Superior Court and is punishable by up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison. If you unlawfully enter another person’s home or trespass on school property, you could be charged with fourth degree criminal trespassing.
By contrast, a less serious disorderly persons offense will be handled in the local municipal court and is punishable by up to six (6) months in the county jail. An experienced criminal lawyer will fight to get your trespassing charge downgraded or dismissed entirely.
Another trespassing charge is defiant trespassing, which typically occurs when a person is banned from a commercial store or mall and then returns to the premises. Defiant trespassing is classified as a petty disorderly persons offense, meaning that it is punishable by up to three (3) months in county jail.
Typical Resolutions in a Trespassing Case
Most trespassing charges are disorderly persons offenses (misdemeanor charges) which are handled in Municipal Court. The key in these cases is to avoid the permanent criminal charge on your record which will show up on background checks for work, school, professional licenses, etc. There are 3 main ways to accomplish this. The first is to beat the case at trial. The State must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is not sufficient evidence to prove a trespassing charge, then trial is a good option. However, if there is enough evidence and you will likely be convicted at trial, there are still 2 other alternatives. One option is to try and negotiate a downgrade of the criminal charge to a local ordinance violation (also known as a municipal ordinance or a town ordinance). This results in a fine only and a non-criminal offense which will not effect your record. Finally, if you have no criminal record and have never used a diversionary program in the past, you are eligible for a conditional dismissal. You must plead guilty to the charge, they will put you on probation for one year. If you complete the probation successfully, the case is dismissed. Then, you can expunge the arrest off of your record as well, but you must wait 6 months under NJ law to do so.
Speak with a Local Washington Twp. Trespassing Lawyer Today
Our Morris County criminal defense attorneys have the experience necessary to fight your trespassing charges, both in and out of the courtroom. Because we have several former prosecutors on staff, we know how the other side thinks. And our experienced criminal defense attorneys understand the advanced defense strategies needed to secure you a win if your case goes to trial. If you or a loved one has been charged with a trespassing in Morris County or elsewhere in New Jersey, contact us anytime for immediate assistance at (908) 336-5008. One of our seasoned defense attorneys will be happy to provide you with a cost-free consultation.