Florida considers burglary a felony offense and doles out harsh punishments for defendants if convicted. The severity of the consequences you face depends on the type of burglary offense, i.e., first-, second-, or third-degree.
It is important to note that a charge does not automatically lead to a conviction. The burglary lawyers in Sarasota, FL at Goldman Wetzel can use a variety of defenses to fight your charges. If you or a loved one is facing burglary charges in Sarasota, call our office at 941-405-5193 for a free consultation to discuss your legal options today.
Florida’s General Definition of Burglary
According to Florida Statute § 810.02(1)(b), burglary is:
- “Entering a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the defendant is licensed or invited to enter; o
- Notwithstanding a licensed or invited entry, remaining in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance: a) Surreptitiously, with the intent to commit an offense therein; b) After permission to remain therein has been withdrawn, with the intent to commit an offense therein; or c) To commit or attempt to commit a forcible felony.
How Florida Categorizes the Three Types of Burglary
Florida categorizes burglary into three separate offenses according to the main factors involved. The state considers each degree of burglary as a different type of felony, meriting distinct penalties:
First-Degree Felony Burglary
The state charges offenders with first-degree burglary (the most serious type), when, during the commission of the crime, they:
- Are armed with dangerous weapons or explosives;
- Assault or batter another person;
- Enter a dwelling or structure; use a motor vehicle as an instrumentality to assist in committing the offense; and thereby damage the dwelling or structure or cause more than $1,000 in damage to the dwelling/structure/property within the dwelling or structure.
Second-Degree Felony Burglary
The state charges offenders with second-degree burglary when, during the commission of the crime, they:
- Are not armed;
- Do not commit assault or battery on anyone; and
- Burglarized a dwelling, an occupied structure or conveyance, an authorized emergency vehicle, or a structure or conveyance with the intent to steal a controlled substance.
Third-Degree Felony Burglary
The state charges offenders with the least serious kind of burglary, third-degree burglary, when, during the incident, they:
- Are not armed;
- Do not commit assault or battery; and
- Burglarize only an unoccupied structure or conveyance.
Dwelling vs. Structure vs. Conveyance
The way the prosecutor decides to categorize a burglary case depends partly on the type of structure the defendant allegedly burglarized. Florida Statute § 810.011(1) lists the following definitions:
“A building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether such building or conveyance 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.”
“A building of any kind, either temporary or permanent, which has a roof over it.”
“Any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad vehicle or car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car.”
In some cases, the prosecutor may wrongly label a structure as a dwelling (e.g., a home), which would warrant higher penalties. Our team will not allow the state to get away with this tactic. When you work with us, we will comb through your case, identify shortcomings and disclose them in court, and present a strong argument on your behalf.
Potential Penalties for Burglary in Florida
The potential penalties you may face for burglary depends largely on the type of offense the prosecutor has charged you with:
30 years imprisonment
15 years imprisonment
Five years imprisonment
Repeat offenders typically face even harsher penalties if convicted. If are facing charges for burglary or other felony crime, speak to our defense attorneys about the case. Under certain circumstances, we might be able to get the charges reduced or dropped. Contact us for a free consult now.
Defending Against Burglary Charges
Our criminal attorneys have the background and tenacity to represent people facing any serious felony charges, such as burglary, robbery, or grand theft. Attorneys Summer Goldman and Maribeth Wetzel will work together on your case and develop a rigorous, well-supported defense strategy.
Examples of defenses to burglary include:
- Mistaken identity
- Lack of evidence (The state must prove that you committed the burglary beyond a reasonable doubt. We will expose and capitalize on any errors or weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.)
- The building did not meet the state’s definition of a dwelling, structure, or conveyance.
- You were invited onto or authorized to remain on the premises.
- You had no intention of doing anything unlawful on the premises.
- You believed the items you took belonged to you.
Whatever legal situation you currently face, our defense team can provide the insightful representation you need to navigate the criminal justice system. We will advocate for your rights from the onset and aggressively fight for the best outcome for your case.
Securing Legal Representation with Our Burglary Lawyers
Serious felony charges like burglary can completely change the course of your life. A conviction will mean long-term imprisonment, hefty fines, and a permanent rap sheet. Exercise your right to counsel and talk to one of our burglary defense lawyers. The consult is free.
Step 1: Call 941-405-5193 and brief our staff on your current situation.
Step 2: We will advise you of your legal options, how we can help, and how to retain us
Step 3: Our team will spring into action and begin working on your case. This might include investigation, preparing for the hearing, negotiating with the state, filing motions, and crafting a solid defense.
Protect your interests. Contact us today to get started.