Burglary and Property Crimes in the State of Florida

Definition of Burglary

The definition of burglary of a dwelling. Structure or conveyance is contained in Section 810.02, Florida Statutes. Under the law, a burglary can occur where:

  1. The defendant enters a dwelling, structure, or conveyance owned by or in possession of another person and, at the time of entering, the defendant had the intent to commit an offense in the dwelling, structure, or conveyance; or
  2. The defendant lawfully enters a dwelling, structure, or conveyance (with permission or consent) and remains inside (a) surreptitiously and with the intent to commit an offense therein; or (b) after permission to remain inside had been withdrawn and with the intent to commit an offense therein; or (c) With the intent to commit or attempt to commit a forcible felony inside.

Burglary is a felony offense and carries severe penalties that will typically include prison and probation. During a trial, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant entered the premises with intent to commit a crime or engage in unlawful activity. A defendant can also receive jail time if they entered a premise without permission or authorization or if that permission or authorization expired.

What is a Structure, Conveyance, and Dwelling?

A structure is a temporary or permanent building with a roof over it. A conveyance is defined as any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad vehicle or car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car. The term ‘dwelling’ is defined as a “building of any kind, whether such building is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night, together with the enclosed space of ground and outbuildings immediately surrounding it.” When a suspect enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, conveyance, or structure, a jury is entitled to infer the suspect’s actions were undertaken with criminal intent.

Penalties for Burglary Crimes

The penalties for crimes of burglary in Florida depend on the circumstances of the type of building or structure, how the offense is committed, and the use of a weapon are some of the most important factors in determining the available sentence.

FIRST-DEGREE FELONY

Burglary is a first-degree felony, with penalties of up to life in prison, where 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 property within the dwelling or structure over $1,000.

SECOND-DEGREE FELONY

Burglary is a second-degree felony, with penalties of up to 15 years in prison or 15 years of probation and a $10,000 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;

THIRD-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 enters or remains in a

  • Structure, and there is not another person in the structure at the time the offender enters or remains; or
  • Conveyance, and there is not another person in the conveyance at the time the offender enters or remains.

Burglary Defenses

There are many defenses available to you to contest a burglary charge. You must contact a qualified criminal defense attorney before entering a plea.

Common Defenses:

  • A defense to burglary is that an accused entered or remained in the place a with the permission, consent, or invitation of the owner or occupant of dwelling, structure, or conveyance;
  • Lack of proof as to the accused’s identity;
  • Innocent / Non-Criminal Intent- where a defendant enters a building or dwelling with intentions that do not involve the commission of a crime, then no burglary occurs (although the defendant’s actions may, under some circumstances, constitute a trespass);
  • Mistaken Identity;
  • Implied Invitation of a Public Place- if the dwelling or business was open to the public, this can provide a consent defense to a burglary charge due to an implicit invitation to enter or remain. This defense does not apply to closed businesses;
  • Legitimate Presence;
  • Mistake of Fact as to Whereabouts;
  • Mistaken Belief as to Permission from the Owner or Occupant;
  • Implied Permission;
  • Inadequate withdrawal of permission to be present.

Contact Us

In Florida, burglary is a harshly prosecuted crime. If you have been accused of burglary, contact attorney Ronald Chapman to discuss your case and see how he might be able to help you. It is essential to have an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney by your side in court.

Defense Attorney West Palm Beach

Ronald Chapman practices criminal defense in both State and Federal Courts within the State of Florida. Since 1990, Mr. Chapman has been representing people accused of committing various types of crimes. If you are facing criminal charges in Florida, Ronald Chapman can help. Schedule your FREE Consultation! Call (561) 832-4348 or visit his website.

Visit us at https://www.justiceflorida.com/ You can also connect with the West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Office online today! Ronald Chapman, an experienced criminal defense lawyer dedicated to defending your rights. Contact him today to begin to discuss your case.

Ronald S. Chapman, P.A.
400 Clematis Street, Suite 206
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
561-832-4348

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