Florida classifies burglary as a serious felony offense and doles out harsh penalties when people violate the law. The punishments for a burglary conviction include long-term imprisonment, fines, and loss of civil rights, among other consequences.
Facing burglary charges? Explore your defense options with one of our burglary lawyers in Tampa, FL today. We can help fight against the accusations and mount a solid defense that works for your situation. Call 813-391-8051 for a free consultation.
Types of Burglary Cases Goldman Wetzel Accepts in Tampa
Our team of criminal attorneys has an arsenal of defense strategies on hand to effectively manage any burglary or theft case. We represent clients in Tampa and throughout Florida who face accusations of burglary or other related serious crimes, such as:
- Assault and battery or other forcible felonies
- Grand theft
- Vandalism and trespassing
- Possession of burglary tools
- Robbery by sudden snatching
How Florida Defines Burglary
Burglary, a common type of theft or larceny crime, involves breaking into and entering a structure of some sort with the intent to commit a crime. Florida Statute § 810.02(1)(b) provides that the people can commit the offense in either of the two following ways:
- “Entering a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance” [that is currently closed or that the defendant was not allowed to enter] intending to commit an illegal act; 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conveyance: surreptitiously, with the intent to commit an offense therein; after permission to remain therein has been withdrawn, with the intent to commit an offense therein; or to commit or attempt to commit a forcible felony.”
Levels of Burglary Offenses in Florida
When law enforcement arrests someone for burglary, the prosecutor will review the factors involved, decide how to classify the offense, and pursue charges accordingly. Florida statutes categorize burglary into three different levels:
First-Degree Felony Burglary
The most serious type of burglary charge, first-degree felony battery occurs when, during the burglary, the offender either:
- Committed a forcible felony such as sexual battery or battery; or
- Was armed; and
- Used a vehicle to commit the crime or caused significant property damage.
Second-Degree Felony Burglary
Second-degree felony battery occurs when the unarmed offender unlawfully entered:
- An occupied or unoccupied dwelling (home);
- An occupied structure or conveyance;
- An authorized emergency vehicle; and
- A building of any kind with the intent to steal a controlled substance.
Third-Degree Felony Burglary
The least severe category of burglary charges, third-degree felony battery occurs when the offender:
- Unlawfully broke into an unoccupied structure or conveyance;
- Was unarmed; and
- Did not commit assault or battery.
Potential Penalties for Burglary Conviction in Florida
The prison sentence and fines the court mandates for burglary depends on the category of 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
And because in all cases, burglary is a felony crime, offenders face other repercussions as well, such as probation, paying restitution, losing the right to vote or own firearms, immigration issues, and future employment problems.
Get help defending against these charges and protecting your best interests. Discuss your case with our burglary defense lawyers today.
Defending Against Burglary Charges
Florida recognizes various defenses to burglary. When you hire us, our attorneys will work together to devise a viable strategy that makes sense for your situation. For example, if the state has only scant evidence against you, we could expose the weaknesses early on and either deter the prosecutor from filing formal charges altogether or at least reduce the category of the offense.
Other examples of common defenses include:
- You did not commit the crime (e.g., mistaken identity or false accusation).
- The property was open to the public.
- You had permission to enter the property.
- You thought the dwelling was yours or a friend’s or family member’s.
- The situation did not meet the category of the offense (e.g., you did not commit a forcible felony or possess a gun).
Our Burglary Attorneys Provide Aggressive, Well-Rounded Defense
Attorney Summer Goldman, a former prosecutor, knows how both sides operate and how to raise appropriate legal challenges to the prosecution’s case. Attorney Maribeth Wetzel, a career defense attorney, has honed the skills necessary to design effective defenses.
They possess excellent negotiation, preparation, and litigation skills that work in favor of our clients, meeting the challenges of your accusations head-on. Together, they can provide you with comprehensive, insightful, hard-hitting legal representation and counsel you need when facing serious charges like burglary.
Our team will stand by you through the entire criminal process, springing into action from the get-go. You can count on us to:
- Explain and protect your rights.
- Forgo personal judgment in favor of collecting the facts and providing you with the counsel you need.
- Discuss your charges and defense options with you and take your input into consideration.
- Pore over the state’s file, looking for errors or gaps.
- Negotiate for a plea bargain when applicable.
- Share your side of the story in the best possible light.
- Keep you updated about your case.
- File motions that benefit your case.
- Perform all the necessary tasks for trial, coming well prepared to fight on your behalf.
Consult Our Burglary Defense Lawyers in Tampa, FL Today
We understand how the outcome of your case could affect every aspect of your life. At Goldman Wetzel, our defense team advocates for your best interests and tailors a defense to meet your needs. Call our office in Tampa, FL at 813-391-8051 to consult our defense attorneys about your case.