BURGLARY

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.

PENALTIES

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.

DEFENSES

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:

  • Misidentification;

  • Lack of criminal intent;

  • Legitimate presence:

  • Permission;

  • Inadequate withdrawal of permission;

  • Prosecutor cannot prove the charge based on the facts

Burglary, and its many different factors is taken very serious by prosecutors because of not only the dangers involved but also by the perceived potential dangers. A good criminal defense lawyer will make the prosecutor focus on the crime being alleged and not on “what could have happened.”

 

Charged with burglary? Contact us today.

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