Florida’s definition of burglary is complex, and includes many situations which one might not normally think of as “burglary.” Breaking into any structure, such as a tool shed, or breaking into any vehicle count as a “burglary.” You do not need to physically break a door or window, merely entering without permission and intention to commit a crime is considered a “burglary” in Florida. Penalties are harsh, and can increase for circumstances such as taking place during a state of emergency during a hurricane.
Brooksville Burglary Defense Attorney
The definition and classification of burglary is complex in Florida. Punishments can be far more severe for certain actions than you might expect. An arrest for a burglary of any type in Hernando County, Citrus County, Sumter County, or the surrounding areas can be an intimidating experience, but there is no need to go it alone. Ashley Aulls has over 20 years of experience defending alleged offenders like you, and knows what it takes to fight off or reduce burglary charges while defending your rights.
With a family history of successful legal professionals, Ashley Aulls knows that it takes open communication with and education of the client to create a strong defense, and The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. was founded on those principles of doing everything possible to defend and inform the client. To schedule a consultation with The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. and find out what Ashley Aulls can do for your case, call (352) 593-4115 today.
Burglary Charges Information Center
- Definition of Burglary in Florida
- Penalties for Burglary in Florida
- Defenses to a Burglary Charge in Florida
Florida Statute § 810.02 defines “burglary” as entering or remaining without permission with intent to commit a crime in a:
- Dwelling (any type of place people normally live, including RVs)
- Conveyance (vehicle such as a car, truck, trailer, or boat)
Even if it is a place open to the public, or you have permission to be there, you can still be charged with burglary if you:
- Enter surreptitiously
- Remain after permission has been withdrawn, such as remaining hidden in a store until it closes
- Enter or remain with intent to commit a violent crime
- Enter without permission into an area not generally open to the public, for example an “employees only” storeroom of a retail business that is open to the public
It is considered entering or remaining “without permission” if you fraudulently obtain permission, for example pretending to be a repairman to gain entrance to a home.
You may also face additional related charges, for example if you are caught with possession of any items that can be classified as “burglary tools,” or if you cut telephone or power lines or otherwise damage or destroy telephone or power access during a burglary.
The penalties for burglary in Florida depend on a wide range of circumstances. You face the most serious penalties if convicted of burglary as a first degree felony, which you face if a court finds you:
- Committed assault or battery during the burglary
- Were or became armed during the burglary with a gun, explosives, or other dangerous weapon. This includes immediate flight from the burglary, for example if you have a gun in the vehicle you use to drive off the premises
- Damaged a dwelling or structure by using a motor vehicle for any reason other than as a getaway vehicle
- Caused more than $1,000 in damage to a dwelling, structure, or any items of property within
- Any burglary that would normally be charged as a second degree felony will be charged as a first degree felony if it occurs in a county where a state of emergency has been declared and the conditions of the emergency facilitate the burglary, for example if you break into a house that has been vacated during a hurricane
If convicted of burglary as a first degree felony, you face:
- Up to 30 years in prison
- Up to $10,000 in fines
If the burglary does not qualify as a first degree felony, it will be charged as a second degree felony if you enter or remain without permission in a:
- Dwelling, regardless of whether anyone else is inside
- Structure, if there is another person inside at the time you enter or remain
- Conveyance, if there is another person inside at the time you enter or remain
- Emergency vehicle, such as an ambulance, police car, or fire truck
- Any structure or conveyance if you intend to steal drugs or other controlled substances. This charge will be in addition to any charges for possession, distribution or trafficking of the drugs
- Any burglary that would normally be charged as a third degree felony will be charged as a second degree felony if it occurs in a county where a state of emergency has been declared and the conditions of the emergency facilitate the burglary, for example if you break into a store that has been vacated during a hurricane
If convicted of burglary as a second degree felony, you face:
- Up to 15 years in prison
- Up to $10,000 in fines
If the burglary does not qualify as a first or second degree felony, it will be charged as a third degree felony if you enter or remain without permission in an unoccupied structure or conveyance. If convicted of burglary as a third degree felony you face:
- Up to five years in prison
- Up to $5,000 in fines
This definition of burglary includes many actions which some people might not think of as “burglary.” For example, if you reach into an unoccupied car to steal something, you have “entered” into a “conveyance” without permission and with intent to commit theft, so you would be charged with burglary as a third degree felony.
The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt all elements of the charge: that you entered or remained without permission, that it was with intent to commit a crime, that it was the type of place described in the law, and any additional factors that may add to your charge or sentence. For example, you should not be convicted of “burglary” for an act of shoplifting if the incident took place in a store that was open to the public at the time of the incident.
If a property has multiple owners or tenants, and one owner or tenant gives you permission to be on the premises, you should not be convicted of burglary even if another owner or tenant is unaware of this and calls the police. If you have solid evidence that you had permission to enter the premises, the prosecution must disprove this beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you of burglary.
If you did not enter a property with intent to commit a crime, for example if you entered a building to escape weather conditions, you can get your charge reduced to a lesser charge such as trespassing.
Finding the Best Burglary Defense Attorney in Hernando County
Regardless of the circumstances, you will need an experienced and skilled attorney to navigate Florida’s complex burglary laws. If you have been arrested and charged with burglary in Brooksville, Hernando Beach, Hill ‘n Dale, Inverness Highlands, North Weeki Wachee, High Point, Sugarmill Woods, Lecanto, Wildwood, Lake Panasoffkee, Bushnell, or the surrounding areas in Hernando County, Citrus County, or Sumter County, contact experienced criminal defense attorney Ashley Aulls. He will use his years of experience defending cases like yours to your advantage. To schedule a consultation with The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A., call (352) 593-4115 today.