Burglary is a unique crime in that it not only involves the unlawful entry into the property of another; it also requires the intent to commit a crime after illegally accessing the premises. Thus, if the prosecution cannot prove that both elements of the offense are present, a jury should not convict a defendant charged with burglary. The proof needed to demonstrate criminal intent in a burglary case was the topic of a recent New Jersey opinion in a case in which the defendant appealed his conviction. If you are charged with burglary or any other crime, it is advisable to confer with a New Jersey criminal defense attorney promptly to discuss your rights.
The Underlying Crime
It is reported that the defendant and another individual went to the victim’s home. The defendant sat on the victim’s back porch, where he could see the bedroom of the victim’s 10-year-old daughter. Six months later, the defendant visited the victim’s house on a bicycle. Later that day, he ran into the victim and her daughter at a store and stared at the daughter.
Allegedly, the following day the daughter heard someone enter her bedroom window. She turned on her light and then turned it back off and pretended to be asleep. She then heard someone unscrew the lightbulb from her lamp and crawl into the corner of the room, at which point she stated, “I know you are still in here.” He left the room but quickly returned, and the daughter saw that it was the defendant. He was ultimately charged with and convicted of burglary. He appealed, arguing in part that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a directed verdict.