Burglary (Dwelling, Structure, Conveyance, Armed, with Assault & Battery)


SHORSTEIN, LASNETSKI, & GIHON
helps people defend against Burglary allegations.
Even first time offenders who are convicted of burglary charges often face long jail or prison sentences.  For example, the bottom of the sentencing guidelines for a first time burglary of someone's house is 21 months in prison.  If you or or a loved one has been accused or arrested for burglary, call us now to discuss what we can do for you.

What is Burglary?

Burglary is defined in Florida Statute Section 810.02.  In order to prove that you are guilty of a burglary, the State must prove: 
  • You entered a:
    • structure, or
    • conveyance,
owned by or in the possession of the victim, and
  • at the time of entering the structure or conveyance, you had the intent to commit a crime in that structure or conveyance.
*   If you allege that you had an invitation or license to enter, the State must prove that you were not licensed or invited to enter the structure or conveyance, or the premises was not open to the public at the time of the entering. 

What is a "structure?"

A "structure" is any building of any kind, either temporary or permanent, that has a roof over it, and the enclosed space of ground and outbuildings immediately surrounding that structure. 

What is a "conveyance?"

A "conveyance"is any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad car trailer, aircraft or sleeping car.

What is a "dwelling?"

A "dwelling" is a building or conveyance of any kind, whether such building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night, together with the enclosed space of ground and outbuildings immediately surrounding it.  It includes an attached porch or attached garage. 

What if I was invited?

It is also the crime of burglary if you had permission or consent to enter the structure or conveyance owned by or in the possession of another person, but after entering, you remained there:
  • surreptitiously and with the intent to commit a crime inside the structure or conveyance,
  • after permission to remain had been withdrawn and with the intent to commit a crime inside the structure or conveyance, or
  • with the intent to commit or attempt to commit a forcible felony inside the structure or conveyance. 

What if I was caught with property taken during a burglary but they don't have evidence that I committed the burglary?

A jury can convict you of burglary if you have possession of recently stolen property taken during a burglary based solely on your possession of that property, unless you have a reasonable explanation that the jury believes.  So if you were walking down the street with a television, and a home owner testifies that he had left his house 5 minutes before the burglary, and a police officer stops you 10 minutes after the homeowner left the house, your possession of that stolen television may be enough for a conviction. 

What are the potential consequences of a Burglary conviction?

Burglary (Dwelling)
Up to 15 years in prison

Burglary (Unoccupied Structure)
Up to 5 years in prison

Burglary (Occupied Structure)
Up to 15 years in prison

Burglary (Unoccupied Conveyance)
Up to 5 years in prison

Burglary (Occupied Conveyance)
Up to 15 years in prison

Armed Burglary
Up to life in prison

Burglary with Assault or Battery
Up to life in prison

Burglary with Motor Vehicle as Instrumentality
Up to life in prison

Burglary to Dwelling or Structure (More than $1,000 damage)
Up to life in prison

Burglary of an Authorized Emergency Vehicle
Up to 15 years in prison

Burglary of Structure or Conveyance to Steal Controlled Substance
Up to 15 years in prison

* If the county is under State of Emergency and the burglary is facilitated by the conditions that led to the State of Emergency, a burglary that is punishable by up to 15 years becomes punishable by up to 30 years and a burglary punishable by up to 5 years becomes punishable by up to 15 years. For example, if Jacksonville was declared in a state of emergency after a Hurricane devastated the city, and you burglarized cars while the police were busy dealing with the emergency, you could face up to 15 years in prison, rather than 5 years.

What are the possible defenses to a Burglary charge?

Because there are so many different forms of burglary, there are many different defenses depending on which portion of the statute you are charged under.  However, the most common defense is that you are not the one who committed the burglary.  Most burglaries are discovered after the fact.  Often, the owner of the property can't tell law enforcement when the burglary actually took place.  People are often arrested based on circumstantial evidence, such as possession of stolen items.  There may be reasonable explanations why you were in possession of stolen items and had no idea that they were stolen.  Sometimes burglary prosecutions are based almost solely on fingerprints.  However, the State can rarely prove when or how the fingerprint got there.  There are many options available to you in defending against burglary allegations.  Call us to discuss the possible defenses in your case.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for or accused of
Burglary (Dwelling),
Burglary (Structure),
Burglary (Conveyance),
Armed Burglary, or
Burglary with Assault or Battery,

Call Shorstein, Lasnetski & Gihon Now!

904-642-3332 (Jacksonville)
or
407-228-2019
(Orlando). 

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