Burglary, a felony offense, can result in severe penalties including long-term imprisonment and steep fines upon conviction. The state considers it a serious property crime because it involves breaking and entering, threats or use of force, and/or property damage.
If law enforcement has accused you or a loved one of burglary, call our burglary lawyers in Bradenton, FL at Goldman Wetzel for help. We will explain your options, protect your rights, and fight on your behalf for a positive result. Contact us at 941-405-5193 for a free consultation.
Florida’s Burglary Definition
Florida Statute § 810.02(1)(b) defines burglary as:
- “Entering a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance [that is currently closed or that the defendant was not allowed to enter] with the intent to commit an offense; or
- Notwithstanding a licensed or invited entry, remaining in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance: surreptitiously, with the intent to commit an offense therein; after permission to remain therein has been withdrawn, with the intent to commit an offense therein; or to commit or attempt to commit a forcible felony.”
Classifications of Burglary Offenses in Florida
The state categorizes and punishes burglary based on whether certain factors were involved.
First-Degree Felony Burglary
If, during the burglary, the offender committed a “forcible felony” (e.g., assault or battery, robbery, sexual assault, etc.), was armed, or used a motor vehicle to commit the offense and damaged the dwelling or structure, the state considers it a first-degree felony.
Second-Degree Felony Burglary
If the offender had no weapons and did not commit assault or battery, but entered a dwelling, an occupied structure, an authorized emergency vehicle, or a building with the intent to steal a controlled substance, the state deems it a second-degree felony.
Third-Degree Felony Burglary
If the offender burglarized an unoccupied building, was unarmed, and damaged no property, the state considers the offense a third-degree felony. While this is the lowest level of burglary offenses, the punishments are still severe.
Talk to one of our burglary attorneys about legal defense today.
Penalties for Burglary in Florida
The penalties for burglary depend on the elements of the case and the way in which the prosecutor labels the offense.
First-degree felony burglary
Up to life in prison
Second-degree felony burglary
Up to 15 years in prison
Third-degree felony burglary
Up to five years in prison
For all burglary cases, the judge may order the defendant to pay restitution to the victims. The state may also enhance burglary offenses in certain cases such as when the defendant is a habitual violent felony offender.
In addition, defendants convicted of burglary might face:
- Court and other related fees
- Revocation of civil rights, such as the right to own a firearm and the right to vote.
Convictions will also remain on your record for life, affect your future, and tarnish your personal and public reputation.
At Goldman Wetzel, our attorneys understand the gravity of burglary charges and know unique ways to challenge them. If you call us to help early on, we may be able to present preliminary evidence and convince the prosecutor to forgo filing charges or to reduce the charges to a lesser offense. The more time we have to research the case, look for holes or errors, gather evidence, and craft a strategy, the better the chances for a positive outcome.
Call us at 941-405-5193 to discuss your case now.
Goldman Wetzel Accepts Burglary Cases in Bradenton, FL
The prosecutor may opt to charge the defendant with additional offenses, as well, greatly increasing the potential penalties. No matter the nature of charges or the severity of the case, our defense attorneys can help. We have the experience, credentials, and resources to fight any type of burglary charge or related offense in Bradenton and throughout Florida, including:
- Possession of burglary tools
Defenses to Burglary in Florida
With over three decades of experience in both prosecution and defense, our lawyers understand the ins and outs of burglary cases and how to construct solid defense strategies for our clients.
The defense that works best depends on the circumstances of the case. We will explore all possible options. For instance, in cases of true innocence, we can expose the state’s lack of evidence, work to prove an alibi, and try to gather evidence that clears your name.
In affirmative defense situations, avenues we might use include:
- You had permission to be on the premises
- You lacked intent to commit a crime
- The premises were open to the public
- The premises failed to meet the statutory definition of a dwelling, structure, or conveyance
- The accusations of assault or battery were fabricated or exaggerated
Goldman Wetzel Can Help Throughout the Entire Justice Process
Our defense duo, attorneys Summer Goldman and Maribeth Wetzel, work in tandem on each burglary case we accept, providing our clients with double the defense and efficiency. You are our priority, and we work tirelessly to preserve your rights and resolve the case in the best possible way.
Conscious of costs to our clients, our team works quickly and aggressively. We will comb through the file and look for mistakes or inconsistencies in the state’s case. If the prosecutor proceeds with the case, we may try to negotiate a plea bargain, file appropriate motions, or work on developing a strong, convincing case for trial.
We take the time to share important case information with you, involve you in the decision-making process, and explain your options throughout the entire process, from investigation and pre-trial to plea bargains or trial.