A Pompton Plains man, who allegedly ran from police after burglarizing a Parsippany home, was arrested Thursday afternoon. According to the Star Ledger article, the defendant forced his way through the rear door of the Parsippany-Troy Hills home, and fled the scene with jewelry before being apprehended by the police. The suspect was found in a wooden shed hiding from the police in a fetal position. He was also found in possession of jewelry from the burglarized home. He was charged with receiving stolen property, burglary, criminal mischief, resisting arrest, aggravated assault, and theft. He is being held in the Morris County Jail in lieu of $75,000.00 bail.
Burglary charges in New Jersey are governed by N.J.S. 2C:18-2 which provides in pertinent part:
§ 2C:18-2. Burglary
a. Burglary defined. A person is guilty of burglary if, with purpose to commit an offense therein he:
(1) Enters a research facility, structure, or a separately secured or occupied portion thereof unless the structure was at the time open to the public or the actor is licensed or privileged to enter; or
(2) Surreptitiously remains in a research facility, structure, or a separately secured or occupied portion thereof knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so.
b. Grading. Burglary is a crime of the second degree if in the course of committing the offense, the actor:
(1) Purposely, knowingly or recklessly inflicts, attempts to inflict or threatens to inflict bodily injury on anyone; or
(2) Is armed with or displays what appear to be explosives or a deadly weapon.
Otherwise burglary is a crime of the third degree. An act shall be deemed “in the course of committing” an offense if it occurs in an attempt to commit an offense or in immediate flight after the attempt or commission.
It is an important distinction whether the case is charged as a third degree or second degree burglary in New Jersey. Second degree charges have a presumption of incarceration and a prison range of five (5) to ten (10) years. On the other hand, third degree charges do not contain a presumption of incarceration and have a prison range of three (3) to five (5) years. This means that, if the defendant has no prior indictable (felony) convictions, a probationary sentence is possible on a third degree burglary charge. On a second degree burglary charge, a probationary sentence is extremely unlikely.