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Jacksonville Burglary Attorneys

Lawyer for Burglary Charges in Florida

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Definition of Burglary in Florida

Under Florida law, burglary is defined as a property crime whereby one enters a premise with an intent to commit unlawful activities.

Florida Statute §810.02 provides an in-depth definition of the crime, which includes breaking and entering into a dwelling, structure, or conveyance with the intention to commit a crime inside.

  • 'dwelling' refers to a building that someone regularly resides in.
  • 'structure' pertains to a building other than a dwelling, such as a commercial property.
  • 'conveyance' is any mode of transportation that can be used to transport someone or something.

At First Coast Criminal Defense our Jacksonville burglary defense lawyers can investigate the incident and use the facts to build your case. We can tenaciously defend your rights in court.


Call our Jacksonville burglary attorneys today at (904) 474-3115 for a FREE consultation.


What is the Difference Between Burglary & Robbery?

As we mentioned above, burglary involves unlawfully entering a building, structure, or dwelling with the intent to commit theft, a felony, or any other crime. It typically occurs when the premises are unoccupied, though it can also happen when occupants are present but unaware of the intrusion.

The key elements of burglary are unlawful entry and the intent to commit a crime inside the premises. The crime need not be completed for an act to qualify as burglary; the intent to commit a crime upon entry is sufficient.

On the other hand, robbery involves taking or attempting to take something of value from another person by force, threat of force, or intimidation. Unlike burglary, robbery involves direct confrontation or interaction with the victim.

The primary element of robbery is the use of force or threat of force to intimidate the victim into surrendering their property. This can involve physical violence, the display of a weapon, or verbal threats.

Robbery often occurs in public spaces, such as streets, sidewalks, or businesses, where there is direct interaction between the perpetrator and the victim.

Penalties for Burglary in FL

Those found guilty of burglary in Florida face harsh consequences, including fines, imprisonment, and a criminal record that can drastically impact their future. Burglaries are felonies in Florida. The minimum sentence for a burglary in FL is a third-degree felony.

Third-Degree Felony Burglary

In a 3rd-degree felony burglary, the offender was either unarmed or did not commit assault or battery. If the property was unoccupied at the time, this sentence would apply. The penalties for this degree of burglary include:

  • up to 5 years imprisonment
  • a $5,000 fine

Second-Degree Felony Burglary

Committing theft of a controlled substance, illegally entering an authorized emergency vehicle, or occupying a property without using violence, may lead to a second-degree felony charge for burglary. The penalties may result in:

  • up to 15 years imprisonment
  • up to $10,000 fine

First-Degree Felony Burglary

Any armed burglary or burglary with assault or battery is a first-degree felony. If property damage above $1,000 was caused or a motor vehicle was used to commit the crime, these charges may apply. The penalties for a first-degree felony burglary include:

  • up to 30 years imprisonment
  • up to $10,000 fine

Common Legal Defenses Against Burglary

Legal defenses against burglary charges can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case and the laws of the jurisdiction. Here are some common defenses that may be used:

  • Lack of Intent: One of the essential elements of burglary is intent. If the accused can demonstrate that they did not intend to commit a crime when entering the premises, they may have a defense against burglary charges. For example, if they mistakenly entered a building believing it was their own or had permission to be there, they may argue lack of intent.
  • Lack of Entry: If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant unlawfully entered the premises, then they cannot be convicted of burglary. This defense may apply if there is insufficient evidence to show that the accused entered the building without authorization.
  • Consent: If the defendant had permission to enter the premises or reasonably believed they had permission, they may argue consent as a defense against burglary charges. For instance, if the accused believed they had permission to enter a building but later discovered they did not, they may use this defense.
  • Alibi: An alibi defense involves providing evidence or testimony to show that the defendant was elsewhere at the time the burglary occurred and therefore could not have committed the crime.
  • Duress or Coercion: If the defendant was forced or coerced into committing the burglary under threat of harm to themselves or others, they may argue duress or coercion as a defense. However, this defense typically requires evidence to support the claim of coercion.
  • Mistaken Identity: If the prosecution cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was the person who committed the burglary, they may use mistaken identity as a defense. This defense often involves providing evidence such as alibis or witness testimony to support the claim.
  • Intoxication: In some jurisdictions, voluntary intoxication may be used as a defense against specific intent crimes like burglary if it can be shown that the defendant was so intoxicated that they could not form the requisite intent to commit the crime.

The effectiveness of these defenses can vary depending on the facts of the case and the applicable laws. Defendants facing burglary charges should consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney to discuss the specific circumstances of their case and determine the best defense strategy.

FAQs About Burglary Charges in Florida

Q: Can a juvenile be charged with burglary in Florida?

A: Yes, juveniles can be charged with burglary in Florida, and their cases are typically handled in the juvenile justice system.

Q: Can burglary charges be expunged from one's record in Florida?

A: It depends on the specific circumstances of the case. Generally, in Florida, certain non-violent felony offenses, including burglary, may be eligible for record sealing or expungement under certain conditions.

Q: Should I hire a lawyer if I'm facing burglary charges in Florida?

A: Yes, it is highly recommended to hire a qualified criminal defense lawyer if you're facing burglary charges in Florida. An experienced attorney can help protect your rights, build a strong defense strategy, and advocate on your behalf in court.

Q: What factors can enhance the severity of burglary charges in Florida?

A: Burglary charges in Florida can be enhanced based on various factors such as the presence of weapons, the commission of assault or battery during the burglary, entering an occupied dwelling, or if the defendant has prior burglary convictions.

Q: Can burglary charges be reduced to a lesser offense in Florida?

A: Depending on the circumstances of the case, it may be possible for burglary charges to be reduced to a lesser offense through plea bargaining or other legal strategies. However, the feasibility of this option would depend on the specific facts of the case and the discretion of the prosecuting attorney.

Q: What is the difference between burglary and trespassing in Florida?

A: Burglary involves entering a dwelling, structure, or conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, while trespassing involves unlawfully entering or remaining on someone else's property without authorization but without the intent to commit a crime therein.

Q: Can I be charged with burglary if I didn't actually steal anything?

A: Yes, in Florida, you can be charged with burglary even if you didn't steal anything. The crime of burglary is based on the act of unlawfully entering a premises with the intent to commit an offense, regardless of whether the intended offense was completed.

Q: How does the "breaking" element factor into burglary charges in Florida?

A: In Florida, the crime of burglary does not necessarily require breaking in the traditional sense. Simply entering a dwelling, structure, or conveyance without permission can constitute burglary, regardless of whether force was used to gain entry.

Q: Can I be charged with burglary if I entered a property believing it was abandoned?

A: Yes, you can still be charged with burglary in Florida even if you believed the property was abandoned. The key element of burglary is the intent to commit an offense therein, not necessarily the ownership status of the property.

Q: Can I face additional charges if I commit theft or another crime during a burglary in Florida?

A: Yes, if you commit theft or another crime during a burglary in Florida, you can face additional charges for those offenses in addition to the burglary charge. These additional charges can carry their own penalties and consequences.

Legal Help for Burglary Charges in FL

In order to prove a burglary charge in Florida, the prosecution must provide evidence that the defendant entered the premises with the intent to commit a crime. Our team can work to build a defense that may involve proving that you did not have any intent to commit a crime, that the property was open to the public at the time of the incident, or that the owner gave consent for you to enter the property.

With our knowledgeable Jacksonville burglary lawyers, you can get the legal assistance you need to defend your rights in court and seek a beneficial outcome.


If you've been arrested, contact us online or call (904) 474-3115. Our Jacksonville burglary defense attorneys can take your calls 24 hours a day!


"I have had the pleasure of working with First Coast Criminal Defense, and it was a wonderful experience, I would highly recommend this Firm. They are totally responsive and will walk you through each phase step by step!"
Vincent

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