Learn more about what burglary is, the penalties associated with this offense and some of the defenses that our burglary lawyers in Florida can use for your case. Serving Manatee, Pinellas, and Hillsborough County.
Oftentimes, burglary charges are confused with robbery and theft. However, burglary is a property crime that involves breaking-in or entering a home, structure or conveyance with the intention to commit a criminal offense. Given that this is a serious crime that could lead to severe consequences, you should enlist the help of experienced burglary lawyers in Florida.
In Florida, burglary is charged as a felony offense, and as such, these charges can result in severe punishments including long-term imprisonment, steep fines, probation, among other consequences. Additionally, having this charge on your criminal record can negatively impact your quality of life.
Given that a conviction carries stiff penalties, you need to make sure that you have a strong defense to fight these charges. If you are facing a burglary charge in Pinellas County, Sarasota, or the Tampa Bay area, call our skilled criminal lawyers. Our burglary attorneys will look at your case and see how they can help you.
Definition of Burglary in Florida
Based on Florida Statute § 810.02(1)(b), burglary is the offense of illegally entering a dwelling, structure or conveyance with the intent to commit an offense. Legally entering a property and remaining there to commit a crime is also considered burglary. Charges range from a third-degree to a first-degree felony.
In Florida, the elements of burglary include entering a property and the intention to commit a crime there. In other words, a burglary offense occurs as soon as the offender enters a home, building or conveyance without permission and with the intent to commit a crime. Even if that crime was not perpetrated, if the prosecutor can prove intent, the defendant will face burglary charges.
The type of property that the burglar enters has an impact on the possible penalties. As a result, it is important to understand the difference between dwelling, conveyance, and structure in Florida:
- Burglary of dwelling: used for temporary or permanent inhabitation. It is a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, which has a roof over it.
- Burglary of conveyance: means any motor vehicle, railroad vehicle, vessel, ship, aircraft, and sleeping car.
- Burglary of structure: not designed for inhabitation (for example, businesses). It is a building of any kind which has a roof over it.
Defining the possible penalties for a burglary charge depends on numerous factors such as the type of property, prior convictions, and the use of violence. In Florida, the prosecution for most felony cases needs to start within 3 or 4 years from the date the burglary was committed.
However, burglary offenses do not have statute of limitations if the identity of the offender is established through DNA evidence. If you are in this situation, you might want to retain the services of a burglary lawyer in Florida.
What is possession of burglary tools in Florida?
As its name suggests, possession of burglary tools means that the offender possessed any tool, machine or device that can be used to commit burglary or trespassing. In Florida, this offense is considered a third-degree felony and carries a penalty of up to a 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000.
Difference between robbery and burglary
Even though they are easily confused, in Florida, robbery and burglary are different offenses. Robbery implies taking someone’s property by using force or violence. Burglary means entering a property with the intent to commit a crime, but it does not necessarily imply the use of violence.
Penalties for Burglary in Florida
In Florida, burglaries are considered felonies. Therefore, if convicted, the minimum sentence for this offense is a third-degree felony which results in up to 5 years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine. Depending on the severity of the nature, defendants might be charged with a 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree felony.
A third-degree felony burglary charge means that the offender did not assault or batter a person or it was an unarmed burglary. This sentencing is also applied if the property was unoccupied at the moment of the offense.
If you burglarize a structure or conveyance with the intent to commit theft of a controlled substance or illegally enter an authorized emergency vehicle, or an occupied property unarmed or without using violence, you could face a second-degree felony charge. This type of felony is punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.
An armed burglary or a burglary with assault or battery is considered a first-degree felony crime. You could also face these charges if you used a motor vehicle to commit the crime or caused property damage in excess of $1,000. If convicted of this offense, you could face up to 30 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.
In addition to these penalties, you could also face:
- Court and related fees
- Loss of rights to vote or own a firearm
If you are accused of a burglary offense in Pinellas County or the Tampa Bay area, you should consider retaining aggressive legal representation to improve your chances of obtaining a desirable outcome.
How Our Attorneys Can Defend a Burglary Charge
Beating a burglary charge in Florida requires that your criminal attorney develops a strategy to exploit the weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case. The lawyers at Goldman Wetzel use different defenses for these types of allegations, some of the avenues that we might pursue include:
- The defendant had permission to be or remain on the premises.
- Lack of evidence to prove intent to commit a crime.
- The premises were open to the public.
- The premises did not meet Florida’s definition of dwelling, structure or conveyance.
- Gather evidence to prove that the damage caused or the accusations of assault and battery were exaggerated.
In order to have a strong defense, our attorneys will conduct thorough research to understand all the facts of your case and find evidence to support your defense. If you want to explore your legal options, book a free consultation with our team.
Contact Our Burglary Lawyers in Florida
Burglary charges are taken seriously and classified as felonies. Given that a conviction can lead to lengthy prison sentences and steep fines, enlist the help of a burglary lawyer in Florida that has experience with these types of cases.
Goldman Wetzel represents clients facing burglary charges in Pinellas County, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Bradenton, Clearwater, Manatee, and Hillsborough County. Call at 727-828-3900 to schedule an appointment.
If you or a loved one have been arrested or are facing criminal charges, you might need legal representation. Contact the attorneys at Goldman Wetzel for a free, no-obligation consultation.