New Jersey Assembly Committee Approved Package of Bills Strengthening Home Burglary Penalties

The New Jersey Assembly Public Safety and Preparedness Committee advanced a package of bills last week to strengthen laws regarding burglaries. These bills are designed to reduce instances of burglaries and enhance public safety through a series of comprehensive measures addressing prevention, enforcement, and legal repercussions.

Bill A4532, part of the legislative package, would establish a separate crime for the burglary of a residential dwelling. Assemblyman Sterley S. Stanley, and Assemblywomen Alixon Collazos-Gill and Mitchelle Drulis sponsored the bill.

Assemblyman Stanley noted that establishing a separate crime for residential burglary would not only help protect residents, but would also ensure law enforcement officers can more accurately track and address these types of offenses.

Under the bill, a person who enters, or surreptitiously remains in, a residential dwelling with the purpose to commit an offense would be guilty of residential burglary.

The bill would classify the burglary of a residential dwelling as a third-degree crime. However, it would become a second-degree crime if the actor purposely, knowingly, or recklessly inflicts, attempts to inflict, or threatens to inflict bodily injury on anyone, is armed with or displays what appears to be an explosive or deadly weapon, or enters the residential dwelling while a resident or any other person is present in the residential dwelling.

“By distinguishing residential burglary from other types of burglary, we are sending a clear message that the safety and security of our homes is of the utmost importance,” said Assemblywoman Collazos-Gill (D-Essex, Passaic). “A4532 will not only help to deter potential criminals but will also provide stronger protections for the New Jersey residents who need it most.”

A second-degree crime is punishable by up to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, or both. A third-degree crime is punishable by up to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000, or both.

The Public Safety and Preparedness Committee also advanced the following bills as part of the legislative package:

A4527 (Karabinchak/Katz/Rodriguez) concerns keyless locking mechanisms and burglar’s tools.

A4528 (Bagolie/Tully/Wimberly) would establish a “Home Security Systems Anti-Burglary Task Force.”

A4529 (Sampson/Freiman/Danielsen/Stanley) would require the Attorney General to conduct a study tracking residential burglaries and issue guidance to law enforcement and the public.

A4530 (Morales/Atkins/Danielsen/Wimberly) would allow sentencing to extended term for repeat convictions of receipt of stolen property.

A4531 (Hutchison/Speight/Atkins) would limit negotiated plea agreements for the crime of burglary when a firearm is involved.

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  1. Texas already has a solution – allowing homeowners to confront home invasions with lethal force. I am sure the increased penalties will cause the burglars to think twice though…/s

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