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How New Jersey defines criminal trespass

Posted by Saul Steinberg | Jul 08, 2020 | 0 Comments

In the state of New Jersey, there are various ways in which a person can commit a criminal trespass. A trespass may occur if a person enters a home or building without permission to do so. An individual may also engage in this type of activity by peering into a home through a window or any other opening. Those who enter or remain in a property after being told not to do so are likely committing a defiant trespass.

Unlawfully entering a structure or engaging in defiant trespassing is generally considered to be a disorderly persons offense. However, illegally entering a structure may be considered a more serious crime if an individual attempts to gain access to a home or research facility. The same may be true if a person attempts to get inside a nuclear power plant or other facilities that store or treat hazardous materials.

Enhanced penalties may also be imposed on a person convicted of peering into a dwelling. There are several possible defenses to a trespass charge such as claiming that it was necessary to look inside a home or remain in a building. A criminal trespass may not occur if it can be shown that a building was abandoned or that a person had permission from the owner to be on the premises.

A person who is charged with trespassing may not necessarily be guilty of the crime. An attorney may be able to show that a defendant had permission to be in a home or building or that he or she had a valid reason to look into a home's window, vent or crawlspace. In some cases, this may be enough to have a case dismissed or to negotiate a favorable plea deal in the matter before a trial begins.

About the Author

Saul Steinberg

Saul J. Steinberg was born and raised in Camden, NJ. He has practiced in Camden County since first being admitted to the bar. Since 1990, he has also handled cases in Southeastern Pennsylvania.The emphasis of Saul's practice is in Criminal and Civil litigation. He has handled major criminal and c...


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