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I. Burglary

Burglary is a serious felony offense in the state of Florida, carrying severe penalties if an individual is ultimately convicted. Due to the complexity of burglary cases and the potential consequences of a conviction, the skills of an experienced law firm is highly recommended and even encouraged. Burglary is governed by Florida Statute 810.02. Under said statute, burglary can be a first degree felony (punishable by life in prison, unlike other first degree felony offenses, which are typically up to 30 years), second degree felony, or third degree felony—contingent on the underlying facts and circumstances that are unique to the case. Based on the burglary statute, a person convicted of this felony offense faces anywhere from five years in prison to life imprisonment. Again, this is dependent on the underlying facts unique to the case, including if a firearm was used, an assault or battery occurred upon another person in the course of committing the burglary, among other circumstances. The expertise of a highly competent attorney that has experience handling these types of cases is critical when a person is potentially facing life behind bars.

Under Florida law, a person commits burglary by entering a dwelling, structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein. A burglary is also committed if an individual lawfully enters—e.g. they were given consent or permission to enter—a dwelling, structure, or conveyance and they remain therein (a) surreptitiously, with the intent to commit an offense therein; (b) after permission to remain therein has been withdrawn, with the intent to commit an offense therein; or (c) to commit or attempt to commit a forcible felony.

Below are some common defenses to a burglary offense that have provided positive results for our clients in the past:

  • Entered or remained with permission or consent from the owner or occupant;
  • Area was open to the public;
    • If the area is open to the public the person technically has implied consent to enter, regardless of their subjective intent. Therefore, the State would need to prove consent was withdrawn to convict for burglary.
    • This defense is not applicable if the business was closed.
    • This defense is not applicable if the person enters an “Employee Only” area.
  • Mistaken identity;
  • Lack of intent to commit a crime therein;
  • Merely being present with the offender who actually commits the crime;
    • The person needs to do an act or say something to encourage or assist the other offender to commit the offense of burglary.
  • Mistake of fact;
    • For example, if an individual enters another person’s home with the intentions of getting back their own property or if they entered thinking they had the owner’s permission to take the item.
  • Among other burglary defenses, including pre-trial and trial defenses.
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