I represented a client yesterday at the Morris County Superior Court in Morristown who was charged with burglary, criminal mischief, and theft arising out of an incident in Butler, New Jersey. My client was a Butler firefighter who, along with another firefighter, entered the firehouse without permission and damaged some of the property of the fire department, including a foosball table which was allegedly thrown out a window. 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.

In order to prove burglary under N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant entered the structure without permission or authority with the purpose to commit a crime therein. Breaking into a structure is not required to prove a burglary.

In this case, my client was a 20 year old kid with no prior criminal record. These were alcohol related incidents which clearly inhibited his judgement. As such, I was able to convince the prosecutor that my client was a good candidate for the Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program. This diversionary program puts my client on probation for one (1) year with certain special conditions including fifty (50) hours of community service and forfeiture of his firefighter’s position. If he successfully completes the PTI probation, the charges will be dismissed and he will have no criminal record.

For additional information, please see the Daily Record article entitled “Accused of tossing foosball table out window, ex-Butler fireman avoids trial.”