Burglary of a Dwelling

People often confuse the crimes robbery and burglary. While robbery is the unlawful taking of property from the person of another through the use of threat or force, burglary is the illegal entry into a building with the intent to commit a felony therein, most commonly theft. Florida § 810.011 (2) defines a dwelling as “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, together with the curtilage thereof.”

Although a burglary typically involves an individual breaking and entering a dwelling, one can commit a burglary in multiple other ways. These include:

  • Sneaking in through an unlocked door or window
  • Lying to gain permission to enter the home (asking to use the phone with the intent of committing a felony)
  • Being invited into a dwelling and remaining behind with the intent of committing a felony

It is crucial to note that one can be charged with burglary without having his or her whole body entering the dwelling or actually taking anything from the property. If an individual opens a window, sticks only his or her arm through the window, and removes an item from the property, the individual has committed a burglary. The same remains true if an individual breaks into a home, the alarm goes off, and he or she flees without taking anything. Both instances are legally recognized as burglaries.

Recent Case Result

Burglary of a Dwelling Case

A client had stolen packages from the front doorstep of two different homes. The state filed “Burglary of a Dwelling” charges on both after asserting that the front door area was an ‘attached porch’ and therefore the dwelling was burglarized. The state demanded nine months jail followed by probation for the two cases as a youthful offender. On a bench plea, the client would score prison, though the legal council could seek a youthful offender sentence. The defense then filed a motion to dismiss the burglary charges, raising the affirmative defense that the front door area was “open to the public” and that the client had a right to enter the area, even though the client walked up with the intent to steal a package. Judge Sheppard argued the State’s case, a case law stated that entering the area with criminal intent does not make the area “non public” and The Umansky Law Firm had handled other cases(involving law enforcement under search and seizure) that stated that law enforcement, like the general public, has a license to walk up to the front door and knock in the absence of no trespassing signs. The state had a 5th DCA case where an individual was convicted of burglary stealing a screen door from the front door of a house, but the defense pointed out that no one had ever raised the affirmative defense in the case (that the area was open to the public) because the defendant, in that case, had also entered an area of the dwelling that was not open to the public. The hearing took over an hour. It was filled with legal arguments on stipulated facts, but the Court ultimately granted the motion to dismiss. The State then amended the offer to straight probation.

Florida Penalties for Burglary of Dwelling

The state can prosecute burglary of a dwelling in Florida as a felony in the first, second, or third degree. The prosecution could push for the crime to be a first-degree felony if a motor vehicle was used to damage and gain access to the property. The state can also upgrade the charge to a first-degree felony if the individual committed an assault, battery, or used a deadly weapon. Criminal penalties for burglary in Florida are as a follows:

  • 1st Degree Felony: Up to $10,000 in fines and up to life in prison
  • 2nd Degree Felony: Up to $10,000 in fines and up to 15 years in prison
  • 3rd Degree Felony: Up to $5,000 in fines and up to five years in prison

Burglary charges are often coupled with other felony crimes. It is important to know if you are charged with Burglary that you could face consecutive imprisonment. It is important to hire defense counsel to look at what charges they convince the prosecutor to drop so you do not face consecutive prison or jail time or avoid incarceration all together!  These charges are very serious and a lawyer can investigate your defenses and in many cases help you avoid prison.

Defenses for Burglary of a Dwelling in Florida

An experienced property crime attorney can make you aware of criminal defense strategies that may benefit your case specifically. An efficient defense strategy can result in particular charges being dropped and, in certain instances, the case being dropped altogether. Legitimate defenses your attorney can present against your burglary charges include:

  • The premises being open to the public at the time
  • A lack of intent to commit a crime
  • Defendant had owner’s consent to enter or be on the property
  • Lack of proof that the person who committed the crime is the defendant
  • Defendant was under the mistaken belief that he or she had permission to be on the property

The Orlando burglary lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm can implement the most appropriate defense strategy and represent you in court in the event your case goes to trial. As former prosecutors on the state and local level, we have a thorough understanding of both sides of the criminal justice system operate and can implement our knowledge to your benefit. Contact us today at 407-228-3838 for a free case evaluation.

Recent Criminal
Case Results

Burglary of Dwelling; Petit Theft

Withhold with 6 months probation and impulse control; adjudication withheld

Grand Theft ($300-$5000)

Nolle Prosequi-Case Dropped

CT-Driving Under the Influence Car (M1)

Nolle Prosequi - Case Dropped

CT- Driving under the influence car

Nolle Prosequi - Case Dropped

Grand Theft Third Degree

Adjudicated Guilty; One day jail/one day time serve; Restitution fees; Court Cost

Petit Theft < 300

We negotiated an agreement that entailed the State dropping the charge after our client completed a Pre-Trial Diversion Program. The Charge was dropped via a Nolle Prosequi.

Unlawful Speeding

Withhold of Adjudication; No points on license; Paid fine and clerk cost; 8 hour aggressive driver class; 90 days to satisfy fine and class

Shoot/Throw Missile Into Dwell/Struct/Veh; Child Abuse; Criminal Mischief; Battery (Domestic Violence)

No Information Notice - Charges Dropped

Attach Tag/Lic Plate To Unassigned Vehicle (M2)

Nolle Prosequi - Case Dropped

DUI with Minor In Car or BAL of .20 or Higher

Pled No Contest, 1 Year Probation, 10 day Car Impound, Community Service

Motion to Modify Probation

Motion Granted in 48 hours

Petit Theft

Adjudication Withheld, 4 Months probation, Costs/Fines, Impulse Control Class

Petit Theft of $100 or MORE (M1)

Nolle Prosequi

Refuse To Submit To DUI Test (M1)

Case Dropped

Battery on Law Enforcement Officer (F3); Disorderly Conduct (M2)

Nolle Prosequi - Case Dropped


Charges Dropped

Scheme to Defraud(F3); Grand Theft(F3)

Motion to Terminate Probation Granted

Unlawful Speed


Failed to Yield at Intersection

Not Guilty

Leave Scene Of A Crash W/Property Damage (M2)

Case Dropped

Motion to Modify and Impose a Withhold of Adjudication


Attempted Burglary of a Conveyance

Charges dropped

Possession of Cannabis (less than 20 grams)

Charges dropped


Reduced to reckless driving

Possession of Alcohol Under the Age of 21

Charges dropped

Driving Under the Influence

Reduced to Reckless Driving

Violation of Probation

Case Dismissed

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