Burglary Defense

Florida statute 810.02 defines burglary as entering or staying on in a residential place, structure, or conveyance with the intent of committing some offense. This excludes premises that are meant for the public and if the person is invited or licensed to enter the premises. Hence, to prove the charge of burglary the prosecution has to establish: If you wish to speak with someone about representation for an Arrest for Theft in Broward County, contact our Fort Lauderdale Criminal Lawyers, William R. Moore directly at 954-523-5333

•The accused did not have a legal right or permission to be in the dwelling (residence), structure or conveyance
•The accused entered or stayed on in the house, building or conveyance
•The intention of the accused was to commit a crime inside the premises or vehicle.

When it is proved that the person did not have permission or a legal right to be on the property or vehicle, but if the intention to commit any crime is absent, then the charges will be for trespassing and not burglary. Hence, for a burglary charge it is important for the prosecution to prove that the accused intended to commit some crime like theft, criminal mischief, or vandalism and so on. Secondly, the accused does not have to be caught in the criminal act of stealing and so on, to be charged with burglary. Merely establishing criminal intent is enough for making an arrest under a burglary charge.

A recent survey of the most qualified Burglary Defense Lawyers in Broward County tends to establish that although not required, the failure of law enforcement to provide evidence of theft is devastating to the Prosecutions case.

Types of Burglaries
Florida law differentiates the forms of burglaries by considering where the crime has taken place.

•Burglary of a Dwelling: This means burglary in a home or residential premises. The residence could be occupied or unoccupied at the time of the crime. The term dwelling may include home, a garage attached to the house, railroad car, trailer, aircraft, inhabited space of a building, and even a warehouse where somebody is residing.
•Burglary of a Structure: This means burglary in non-residential premises. Usually this burglary is also referred to as business burglary, as the place broken into is a commercial establishment, like a shop or a store. The severity of the crime will depend on whether the structure was occupied or unoccupied at the time of burglary.
•Burglary of a Conveyance: As the name suggests, this is burglary in a motor vehicle. Here too the severity of the crime will depend on whether the vehicle was occupied or unoccupied at the time of the crime.

Penalties
In Florida, burglary is a felony offense, and there are specific criteria for determining the degree of felony charge.

First Degree Burglary
Burglary can be a first degree felony offense when:

•The accused entered the premises with explosives or a deadly weapon, or gained possession of a deadly weapon after entering the premises
•The accused engaged in battery or assault against somebody while committing burglary
• The accused caused damage of over $1,000 to the property, while committing burglary
•The accused used a vehicle to gain entrance to the property, excepting using a vehicle for getaway
•The accused is a repeated offender

First-degree burglary carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and fine of up to $10,000. The accused can be sentenced for a lesser term depending on the circumstances and facts about the case. Secondly, first-degree burglary is considered one “Strike” under the “Three Strikes and You are Out” law. This means, if the convicted person commits any more felonies in future the sentence will be doubled in the new case.

Second Degree Burglary
Here the accused commits burglary without the use of weapons, force, or assault, and nobody is hurt in the crime, but the premises are occupied during the commissioning of the crime. Second-degree felony is punishable with up to 15 years jail term, and fine of up to $10,000.

Third Degree Burglary
All the circumstances remain the same as in second-degree burglary, but here the premises are unoccupied during the commissioning of the crime. Third-degree felony is punishable with jail term of up to five years and fine of up to $5,000.

Our Florida criminal defense law firm offers aggressive and skilled representation to individuals accused of Theft in Broward County. Speak to theft defense attorney William R. Moore 954-523-5333