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Robbery vs Burglary: What is the Difference in New Jersey?

“Burglary” and “robbery” are often used interchangeably, but they actually have different legal definitions and very different consequences. Read on to learn more.

How is Burglary Defined in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, a burglary occurs when an individual enters a structure or research facility without permission, and with the intent to commit a crime inside said building.

The term “structure” is vague. It can apply to any room, building, ship, vehicle, airplane, or any place adapted either for sleeping or business.

It is important to know that your charges can be upgraded to aggravated burglary. An aggravated burglary occurs when the offender inflicts, threatens, or attempts to inflict bodily injury on another individual while also committing burglary. Aggravated burglary also applies to burglars who are armed with, or appear to be armed with a deadly weapon or explosive. This can carry much heavier consequences than burglary.

What are the Consequences of Burglary?

Burglary: you may be charged with committing a crime of the third degree and you can face up to 5 years in prison, as well as a potential $15,000 fine.

Aggravated burglary: this is a crime of the second degree, and you can face up to 10 years in prison, as well as up to $150,000 in fines.

How is Robbery Defined in New Jersey?

Robbery is an aggravated theft crime. Under New Jersey law, simple theft becomes a robbery if any of the following events occur while the crime is being committed: 

  • Inflicting bodily injury or other use of force during the theft
  • Threatening or otherwise putting the victim in immediate fear of bodily injury 
  • Committing or threatening to commit a crime of the first or second degree during the course of a theft, for example, inflicting serious bodily injury or death, or using or threatening to use a deadly weapon (armed robbery)

What are the Consequences of Robbery?

Second-degree robbery: you can face five to 10 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $150,000.

First-degree robbery: 10 to 20 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $200,000.

In it important to note that robbery falls under the No Early Release Act. This requires the offender to serve 85% of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole. 

If you are facing charges for burglary or robbery in New Jersey, you will need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact our firm today to discuss your case.


Kevin T. Conway is an experienced Bergen County criminal attorney handling DUI, DWI, traffic violations, violent crimes, sex crimes, illegal gun possession, shoplifting, and juvenile crimes. Attorney Conway is also experienced in commercial law matters, zoning law, and estate planning. If you need an aggressive criminal lawyer, contact The Law Office of Kevin T. Conway for a free consultation.

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