Many people think you have to steal something from a business or property to get charged with burglary. However, according to Florida law, this is not the case. According to Florida Statue 810.02, law enforcement can arrest you on burglary charges if they believe you are unauthorized to be in a house or building and intend to commit any crime, stealing or otherwise.
Even if you believe your charges are a simple misunderstanding, it's still in your best interest to hire an experienced lawyer to defend you.
You can read the full legal definition of burglary on the Official Website of the Florida Legislature. However, one thing is clear. The charges are serious, and you should not take them lightly.
There are several different types of burglary charges a person can receive. These include burglary of a structure, burglary of a conveyance, burglary of a dwelling, and burglary with battery. Each charge is extremely serious, and all are felonies. No matter which type of burglary offense law enforcement charges you with, contact an attorney immediately.
Burglary of a Structure
The burglary of a structure can land you in prison for up to five years. You can receive this charge just by staying in a building after a person or member of law enforcement asks you to leave if you intend to commit a crime.
A structure can be any building. A store, a barn, a gymnasium. The severity of your charges will depend on whether or not another person was inside that structure at the time of the burglary. The burglary of a structure that is not occupied is less severe. If a person occupies the building at the time of the crime, they may end up in prison for up to fifteen years.
However, sentencing is at the judge's discretion, and time in prison is not mandatory in the state of Florida. This is why having an attorney fight for you is essential.
Burglary of Conveyance
Burglary of conveyance refers to entering a vessel that is not a building intending to steal or commit a crime. This charge can apply to individuals who break into cars, attempt to steal things off of boats, enter shipping containers or train cars, small airplanes, and so on. Burglary of conveyance charges frequently come with additional charges such as theft or robbery.
Again, whether or not an individual is present plays a large factor in determining sentencing.
Burglary of a Dwelling
Burglary of a dwelling means that you are entering with intent to commit a crime a place where a person or people live or sleep. Most frequently, this means homes. This also applies to trailer homes, motel rooms that are rented out, and more. The dwelling does not need to be a place of permanent residence, as long as its purpose is for people to sleep in.
Burglary with Battery
Burglary with battery is what is known as a "life felony." While all burglary charges are felony charges, burglary with battery carries the possibility of life in prison. It is a first-degree felony.
For law enforcement to charge you with the offense of burglary with battery, you must assault a person who is present during the burglary. This can be in congruence with any other forms of burglary, whether of a structure, of a conveyance, or of a dwelling.
However, making threats to a person while committing burglary can also get you charged with an additional battery offense.
Many people are surprised to learn that they do not actually have to inflict harm on another person to receive this charge. If a threat is made towards another individual, and there is reason to believe that the threat can be carried out, you might be charged with burglary with battery.
You can also receive the charge of armed burglary if you have a weapon on you at the time of the offense, whether or not you use it. This is also a life felony.
All burglary charges in the state of Florida are felonies. The severity varies depending on the other circumstances surrounding the crime. These include whether or not another individual sustains an injury during the burglary, whether a weapon is involved, if the property sustains damages, and if a child is present.
Additionally, the severity of the charge may change if the state, county, or town is considered to be in a state of emergency at the time of the event. For example, this can include entering vacant homes during or following a hurricane.
The penalties for a burglary conviction in Florida are steep, so you must hire a burglary defense lawyer to represent you in court.
Sentencing for Burglary
As a felony charge, a judge may sentence you to time in prison. Additionally, you may have to pay a significant amount of money in fines and court costs. You may lose custody of your children if you are a parent. If you spend time in prison, you are likely to lose your job and your residence if you are a renter or the single owner of a home due to the inability to keep up with payments.
After release from prison, a judge will order you to complete parole or probation, where you will need to meet with a supervisor regularly. You will also have to take drug tests, and you may have to complete community service.
However, these penalties are not the only negative experiences you will have to go through following a conviction for burglary. Life as a convicted felon can be extremely difficult, and the mark will stay on your record for life.
If a judge or jury convicts you of burglary charges, you are automatically a felon as the law states. A felony conviction will affect you for the rest of your life, which is why it is so essential to hire a burglary lawyer to represent you in court. An experienced burglary defense lawyer will present the best case to help you beat your charges.
When you are a convicted felon, your job options will be limited. Many employers do not hire felons, and your record will appear on any background check a person runs on you. This may impact the amount of money you can make and your quality of life. Additionally, landlords sometimes deny housing to convicted felons, so you may have a challenging time finding a place to live. These are two of the most vital things in life, employment, and housing. As a felon, they are bound to become more challenging to sort out.
If you have been charged with burglary in Florida, contact the Weinstein Legal Team today. We are standing by to review your case 24/7.