In Florida, burglary is a property crime that involves the entry or occupation of another person’s premises with the intent to engage in unlawful activity.
To charge be charged with burglary, the Florida prosecution must prove that you entered the property with the intent to do something illegal. The prosecution must also prove that you entered without permission, or that you overstayed your welcome.
Burglary is a felony in Florida and may be charged in the first, second, or third degree.
First-degree burglary applies when a motor vehicle is used to destroy the structure or if you caused more than $1,000 in damage to the structure. First degree burglary may carry a sentence to life in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Second-degree burglary applies in situations in which a deadly weapon was not used, or an assault or battery was not committed upon entering the structure. Second-degree burglary can carry a maximum sentence of fifteen years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Third-degree burglary may be charged when the occupants of the dwelling were not present at the time the structure was entered, and no assault or battery occurred at the time of entering. Third-degree burglary can carry a maximum prison sentence of five years and a fine of up to $5,000.
As with other property crimes that require specific intent, a skilled criminal defense defense attorney can craft a compelling legal defense on your behalf. Common defenses for burglary in Florida include:
The owner of the premises consented to your presence there;
The premises were open to the public; and
You lacked the necessary intent to commit a crime within the structure.
If you’ve been charged with a burglary in Florida, it is important to engage an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you navigate the process and to craft a strong defense on your behalf.