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.

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.

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