You're Not Guilty of Burglary Unless You Intended to Commit a Crime

           In the case of P.D.T. versus the State of Florida, P.D.T. (those being the initials of the juvenile who was charged in that case) was convicted of the crime of burglary of a dwelling.  He appealed his conviction on the basis that the evidence presented at his trial was insufficient to prove that he intended to commit a crime when he entered the home that was supposedly burglarized.  The appellate court deciding his case agreed with him and in doing so stated:

 

          I.  The evidence presented at P.D.T.'s trial established that:

 

          A.  Certain homeowners returned from vacation to their residence where they found spilled drinks, empty beer bottles, burn holes in the furniture, burned drapes, and a bong;

 

          B.  While the homeowners were on vacation, a juvenile (not P.D.T.) threw a party in their home without first getting their permission to do so;

 

          C.  There were approximately 15 kids at the party, including P.D.T., and all of them knew that they were in the home without the owners' permission; and

 

          D.  P.D.T. was smoking marijuana and drinking beer at the party.

 

          II.  The court of appeals continued on to state that in order to prove the crime of burglary, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant either:

 

          A.  Entered a dwelling without permission and intended to commit a crime in that dwelling; or

 

          B.  The defendant was invited into a dwelling but then remained in that dwelling secretly, or else he remained in that dwelling after the invitation was withdrawn, and he intended to commit a crime in that dwelling.

 

          In either case, he must have an intention to commit a crime in the dwelling in order to be guilty of burglary.

 

          III.  In P.D.T.'s case, the appellate court found that:

 

          A.  While there was evidence that P.D.T. entered the home without permission;

 

          B.  There was no evidence that he had intended to commit a crime when he first entered the home.

 

                    1.  Although the evidence established that P.D.T. and the other kids entered the home to party and that P.D.T. drank beer and smoked marijuana while in the home, there was no evidence that he knew that beer and marijuana were inside the home when he first entered it.

 

          C.  Because there was no evidence that P.D.T. intended to commit a crime when he first entered the home, the lower-court judge should have found him not guilty of burglary.

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