Most Tampa residents recognize that burglary is the act of unlawfully entering some building or other structure with the intent to commit a crime therein, such as theft. However, what many people do not realize is that burglary used to be a crime that only pertained to the unlawful entry into homes or dwellings at night. This was traditionally how burglary came about because it was much easier to break into a home when it was dark and the occupants were not present, or were asleep.
Nowadays, the crime of burglary is not limited to homes or dwellings and the crime does not have to occur at night. The definition of burglary in Florida has expanded to include any conduct of unlawfully entering any premises or property, at any time of day or night, with the intent to commit a crime on those premises.
While you may have a general understanding of what burglary is, there are a variety of factors that come into play when facing any given burglary charge, and such factors could shape the ultimate outcome of your burglary charge. As such, every burglary charge should be taken very seriously with the assistance of a qualified Criminal Defense Attorney in Tampa. Marc A. Joseph, P.A. has helped his clients overcome tough burglary charges and knows what it takes to reach a reasonable outcome to each client’s criminal situation.
Understanding Florida’s Burglary Laws
Under Florida law, an individual may be found guilty of burglary if he or she enters or remains in a dwelling, structure or conveyance with the intent to commit an offense within the dwelling, structure or conveyance. If the property in question is open to the public at the time of the alleged burglary, or if the individual was licensed or invited to enter the property, then the individual has not committed burglary in Florida.
In order to be convicted of burglary in Florida, it is essential that the prosecution prove you intended to commit a crime while unlawfully entering or remaining on another’s property. If this intent to commit another crime is not present, then the only crime at issue is more akin to trespassing. To ensure you have a thorough understanding of what burglary actually is and how it is different from other crimes like trespass and robbery, you should consider speaking with a Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible.
Burglary is considered a felony in Florida, and the degree of felony increases based on how serious the burglary charge is, and what other contributing factors were involved. Burglary charges in Florida are classified as follows:
- Third Degree Felony Burglary – An individual may be charged with and found guilty of third degree felony burglary if he or she unlawfully enters or remains in a dwelling or other applicable structure, and does so without committing assault or battery while on the premises, does not become armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive, and where there is no person currently in the structure at the time of the alleged burglary.
- Second Degree Felony Burglary – An individual may be charged with and found guilty of second degree felony burglary if he or she unlawfully enters or remains in a dwelling or other applicable structure, and does so without committing assault or batter while on the premises, does not become armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive, and where there is a person or persons present in the structure at the time of the alleged burglary.
- First Degree Felony Burglary – An individual may be charged with and found guilty of first degree felony burglary if he or she unlawfully enters or remains in a dwelling or other applicable structure, and he or she makes an assault or battery on another person, or he or she becomes armed within the structure with a dangerous weapon or explosives. An individual also faces first degree felony burglary charges if he or she enters an occupied or unoccupied dwelling or other applicable structure, and does so with the use of a motor vehicle to assist in the commission of a burglary, thereby damaging the dwelling or structure.
It isn’t always easy to determine what facts exist to classify any given burglary charge as one of the three degrees of felonies listed above. For example, there may be a dispute as to whether an individual was actually present in the dwelling or structure at the time the alleged burglary was committed. This can be a significant factor as the presence of an individual enhances the severity of the potential consequences associated with being convicted of burglary in Florida. Because there is so much at stake when facing a burglary charge in Florida, it is imperative that you have competent and dedicated legal representation from start to finish. Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A. will provide you with the possible outcomes of your burglary charge and take all steps necessary to either have your burglary charge dismissed or to seek a resolution that will minimize the severity of any punishment.
Consequences of Burglary in Florida
- Depending on the seriousness of the underlying facts surrounding your Florida burglary charge, you could be facing significant jail time and a life-long criminal record. As with most crimes in Florida, there are varying degrees of severity that determine the extent to which a convicted individual should be punished. The range of punishment for a burglary conviction in Florida is the following:
• Third Degree Felony Burglary – If convicted, you face up to five years in jail and a fine not to exceed $5,000.
• Second Degree Felony Burglary – If convicted, you face up to fifteen years in jail and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
• First Degree Felony Burglary – if convicted, you face a potential life sentence in jail, depending on how serious the crime was. If an individual was killed in the course of a burglary, the accused is more likely to face a life sentence. Further, the accused faces a fine not to exceed $10,000.
In addition to the potentially harsh consequences of significant jail time and fines as described above, individuals convicted of burglary in Florida will have a tarnished criminal record that makes it difficult to obtain or keep employment, attend college, or find a place to live. In order to minimize the harshness of the consequences you face with a burglary conviction in Florida, you will need a skilled Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney like Marc A. Joseph, P.A. standing by your side and advocating for your rights and interests to the fullest extent possible.
Contact Tampa Grand Theft Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A. Today for a Free Consultation
Burglary is a crime that carries with it potentially harsh consequences that could land you in jail. If you or a loved one has been charged with burglary in Florida, it is essential that you consult with a skilled Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney right away. Burglary is a very serious crime, and your case should be handled by an attorney with a reputation for success and experience defending clients against Florida burglary charges. Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A. has more than 15 years of experience providing his clients with the devoted and thorough legal representation they deserve. You must act quickly when facing a burglary charge, as your rights and interests are at risk. Marc A. Joseph, P.A. possesses the qualities you need in an attorney advocating on your behalf. To schedule your free consultation with Marc A. Joseph, P.A. to discuss your burglary charge, contact our office today by calling (813) 234-6374. Tampa Theft Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A. is available 24/7 to answer your questions and address your concerns.