In Florida, a Burglary occurs when:
a person enters or remains in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance with the intent to a commit a criminal offense therein. Florida Statute 810.02.
An important thing to remember is that a defendant does not need to be entirely inside the building, the crime is complete if even just a body part is extended inside (i.e. reaching an arm through a window) as long as the intent to commit a crime is there.
A Burglary charge can range from a 1st degree felony to a 3rd degree felony based on several factors.
1st Degree Felony:
Burglary is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to life in prison if the defendant:
Commits an assault or battery upon any person;
Is or becomes armed within the dwelling, structure, or conveyance, with explosives or a dangerous weapon; or
Enters an occupied or unoccupied dwelling or structure, and: (1) Uses a motor vehicle as an instrumentality, other than merely as a getaway vehicle, to assist in committing the offense, and thereby damages the dwelling or structure; or (2) Causes damage to the dwelling or structure, or to property within the dwelling or structure in excess of $1,000.
2nd Degree Felony:
Burglary is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison or 15 years of probation and a $10,000.00 fine, where the defendant does not commit an assault, does not carry a dangerous weapon, and he or she enters or remains in a:
Dwelling, and there is another person in the dwelling at the time the offender enters or remains;
Dwelling, and there is not another person in the dwelling at the time the offender enters or remains;
Structure, and there is another person in the structure at the time the offender enters or remains;
Conveyance, and there is another person in the conveyance at the time the offender enters or remains;
3rd Degree Felony:
Burglary is a third-degree felony, with penalties of up to 5 years in prison or 5 years of probation, and a $5,000 fine where the defendant in the course of committing the offense, does not make an assault or battery and is not and does not become armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive, and enters or remains in a:
Structure, and there is not another person in the structure at the time the defendant enters or remains; or
Conveyance, and there is not another person in the conveyance at the time the defendant enters or remains
Note: if the Burglary is committed in a County that is subject to a State of Emergency, the penalties can be elevated.
Different defenses are available depending on the facts of the case, however, not every case will have a defense. The defenses can be legal or factual in nature such as:
Lack of criminal intent;
Inadequate withdrawal of permission;
Prosecutor cannot prove the charge based on the facts