In general, burglary is a property crime that describes the entry or occupation of another's premises with an intent to engage in unlawful activity. To establish the elements of the offense set by Florida state laws, a prosecutor must show that the defendant entered the premises with a specific intent to carry out a crime. For example, a defendant might have entered a home with the intent to commit theft.
A prosecutor must show that the defendant entered the premises without authorization. Alternatively, a prosecutor can also establish a burglary if the defendant initially had permission to enter but remained on the premises after the invitation had expired or had been revoked.
Florida Burglary Law: Crime Classifications
In Florida, the state may prosecute a burglary as a felony in the first degree, second degree, or third degree. In addition, the prosecutor can establish a first degree felony if the defendant used a motor vehicle to damage the dwelling or structure or if the defendant caused over $1,000 in damage to the dwelling or structure during the burglary.
If the defendant did not commit assault or battery and did not use a deadly weapon, the state might prosecute the burglary as a second degree felony. The prosecutor must show that the defendant committed burglary of a type of dwelling, structure, or conveyance specified by the laws of Florida. A dwelling serves as a place for habitation, while a structure describes a building of any kind that is not designed for habitation or occupation. Conveyances include cars, trailers ships, boats, and other properties. A dwelling may serve as the premises for a burglary regardless of whether anyone was present at the time of the offense.
Florida Burglary Laws at a Glance
Florida Statutes Section 810.011-810.06
|Statutory Definition of Burglary
Entering a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the defendant is licensed or invited to enter; or
Notwithstanding a licensed or invited entry, remaining in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance:
- Surreptitiously, with the intent to commit an offense therein;
- After permission to remain therein has been withdrawn, with the intent to commit an offense therein; or
- To commit or attempt to commit a forcible felony.
|Sentences and Penalties
- 3rd Degree Felony - Imprisonment for up to five years and a fine of an amount up to $5,000.
- 2nd Degree Felony - Maximum sentence of imprisonment for 15 years and a fine of $10,000.
- 1st Degree Felony - Up to life imprisonment and a fine in an amount up to $10,000.
|Defenses to Burglary Charges
- Owner consented to the defendant's entry or presence on the property
- Premises were open to the public at the time
- Defendant lacked intent to commit a crime
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- please contact a Florida criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Don't Face Your Burglary Charges Alone: Get Help From a Local Attorney
Burglary is a serious property crime, since it involves breaking and entering and/or the use of physical force or intimidation. If you have been charged with this crime, you may be facing prison time and will want to obtain legal assistance right away. Get started today and contact a Florida criminal defense attorney.