Burglary, as outlined by Florida Statute 810.02(1)(b), means to enter a dwelling, structure, or conveyance with the intent to commit an offense. Burglary is classified as felony. The circumstance surrounding the burglary determines the degree of the offense (first, second, or third), and the punishments at stake if you are found guilty.What is Burglary?
A person commits burglary when they enter a dwelling, structure, or conveyance with the intent to commit an additional crime. The intended crime can be anything other than burglary or trespass, so crimes like petit theft, arson, assault, kidnapping, criminal mischief, or any other crime meets the criteria for a burglary charge. Note that you do not have to actually commit the crime during the course of the burglary – the intent to commit a crime is all that matters. Intent can be a tricky thing to prove since it involves the mental state of the defendant. However, intent, like any other element, can be proved using circumstantial evidence – evidence that is indirectly linked to the crime. Intent can also be inferred. The Florida Jury Instructions for Burglary state, “You may infer the defendant had the intent to commit a crime inside a structure or conveyance if the entering or attempting entering of the structure or conveyance was done stealthily and without the consent of the owner”. The Florida Jury Instructions further clarify that, to be found guilty of burglary, the whole body of the defendant does not need to enter. If any part of your body enters the structure or conveyance, even a small part such as your hand, you can be found guilty of burglary. As a prosecutor, Attorney Matt Thompson obtained a conviction on a defendant who only reached his hand into the bed of a truck and stole a chainsaw. Matt Thompson has extensive experience with all facets of burglary charges, and he can help you.What is at Stake?
Burglary is classified as a felony. Felonies carry degrees – first, second, and third – that have varying levels of punishment. First, second, and third degree felonies all have at least one thing in common: they all carry jail time.
Third Degree Felony – If the offender does not make an assault or battery and is not armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive, and there is not another person in the structure or conveyance at the time the offender enters [s. 810.02(4)(a)(b)]. Punishable by up to 5 years in jail, 5 years probation, and a fine of $5,000.
Second Degree Felony – If the offender does not make an assault or battery and is not armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive, and the offender enters a dwelling (with or without another person in the dwelling at the time of entering) [s. 810.02(3)(a)(b)]; enters a structure or conveyance and there is not another person in the structure at the time of entering [s. 810.02(3)(c)(d)]; enters an authorized emergency vehicle [s. 810.02(3)(e)]; or enters a structure or conveyance when the offense intended to be committed is theft of a controlled substance [s. 810.02(3)(f)]. Punishable by up to 15 years in jail, 15 months of probation, and a fine of $10,000.
First Degree Felony – If the offender, in the course of committing the burglary, does any of the following: make an assault or battery upon any person [s. 810.02(2)(a)], is or becomes armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive [s. 810.02(2)(b)], enters an occupied or unoccupied dwelling or structure and uses a motor vehicle to cause damage to the dwelling or structure, or causes damage in excess of $1,000 [s. 810.02(2)(c)(1)(2)]. Punishable by up to life imprisonment and a fine of $15,000.
Even if it your very first time being arrested, if you are charged with burglary of a dwelling, or someone’s home, you are facing a mandatory prison sentence.The Thompson Law Approach
With all of this at stake, it is important that you hire an attorney who is going to defend your case with every ounce of his energy. A public defender or large law firm will not have the time or energy to give your case the attention it needs. Thompson Law is purposefully kept small. Attorney Matt Thompson typically only handles 10 new cases, ensuring that he will aggressively defend your case. We begin crafting your defense the moment you step foot into our office.
This means that Thompson Law will be working with you every step of the way during the life of your case. Our firm begins by speaking directly to you. We listen to your description of the incident so that your attorney can assess the approach that is going to put you in the best position in light of your individual circumstances. Not every burglary case is the same, and when some cases carry the possibility of life in prison, an individualized approach is the only way to ensure that you get the best possible deal. This is why we emphasize direct and candid communication with each and every one of our clients. With over 10 years of legal experience, Matt Thompson knows that being accused of a crime is a difficult and confusing time in your life, and he offers the knowledge, honesty, and compassion necessary to work through your case.