Current New Jersey law doesn't do enough prevent burglaries, according to State Sen. Kevin O'Toole (R-40). But his proposed legislation will change all that, he contends.
Introduced in the state assembly on Monday, the bill would upgrade charges for burglars entering occupied businesses/residences from a third-degree charge to a second-degree charge.
A second-degree crime is punishable by a 5-10 year prison term and/or a fine of up to $150,000.
That's significantly harsher than current penalties for burglars – a potential fine of $15,000 and/or 3-5 years in jail. O'Toole's bill would not allow for early release, he said.
“It makes no sense that the burglary of an unoccupied vehicle is as criminal as the burglary of an occupied home or business,” O'Toole said in a statement. “The burglary of occupied properties must be deterred by the greatest possible penalties, due to grave physical, emotional and psychological damage endured by victims.”