burglary lawyer in Tampa, FL - Smith & Eulo Law Firm

The charge of burglary in the state of Florida is a broad term that covers a number of offenses, all of which constitute felonies. 

What Constitutes Burglary in Tampa, FL?

In the state of Florida, the act of entering a house, structure, business, or vehicle without the consent of the owner, and with the intention of committing a criminal act while within the structure is defined as burglary

It is the combination of unlawful entry and the intent to commit offense while within that constitutes the act of burglary. This is an extremely serious, very complex crime in Florida, with life altering consequences, so understanding what burglary is and what it isn’t is vital for someone has been charged with a burglary crime.

3 Types of Burglary in Florida State

There are three basic types of burglary under Florida state law.

  • Burglary of a Conveyance Under Florida law, cars, trailers, motorbikes, boats and other watercraft, aircraft and railroad cars are considered examples of conveyances. Should a person unlawfully enter a conveyance with the intent of committing an offense; such as stealing the contents of a box truck, that offense is considered a burglary of a conveyance.
    • A burglary of a conveyance where there is no one inside, is a third-degree felony in the state of Florida and punishable by up to five years in prison, five years’ probation and a fine of $5000.
    • If that conveyance is occupied at the time a burglar enters, the crime is now a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony is punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison, 15 years’ probation and a fine of $10,000.
    • If a burglary of a conveyance is committed while armed with a dangerous weapon, or assault and battery is committed during the act, this charge now becomes a first-degree offense, and is punishable by a maximum of life in prison.
  • Burglary of a Structure This refers to any building that has a roof. The space of ground around the structure is also considered part of the dwelling. When a person enters a structure or the area around a structure, with the intention of committing an offense while within; such as breaking into a storage compartment, that person is committing burglary of a structure.
    • A burglary of structure where there is no one inside, is a third-degree felony in the state of Florida and punishable by up to five years in prison, five years’ probation and a fine of $5000.
    • If that structure is occupied at the time a burglar breaks in, the crime becomes a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, 15 years’ probation and a fine of $10,000.
    • If a burglary of a structure is committed while armed with a dangerous weapon, or assault and battery is committed during the act, this charge now becomes a first-degree offense, and is punishable by a maximum of life in prison.
  • Burglary of a Dwelling Finally, there is burglary of a dwelling. A dwelling is defined as any building or conveyance that has a roof and is designed to be lived in or slept in at night. The area surrounding that dwelling, such a porch or backyard, is also considered part of that dwelling.
    • A burglary of dwelling where there is no one inside, is a third-degree felony in the state of Florida and punishable by up to five years in prison, five years’ probation and a fine of $5000.
    • If that dwelling is occupied at the time a burglar breaks in, the crime becomes a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, 15 years’ probation and a fine of $10,000.
    • If a burglary of a dwelling is committed while armed with a dangerous weapon, or assault and battery is committed during the act, this charge now becomes a first-degree offense, and is punishable by a maximum of life in prison.

Tampa, FL burglary defense lawyers

Defending Against A Burglary Charge in Florida

Just a few of the defenses that can be used against a charge of burglary in the state of Florida include:

Proving Intent

It would appear to be difficult to defend against the charge of burglary, but there are ways to do so. The primary angle of attack is to call into question the mental intent to commit a crime, usually theft, while within the structure or conveyance.

This distinction is an important one. The intention to steal is central to the charge of burglary as is wholly separate from the act of illegal entry. If someone sneaks into the Raymond James Stadiums at midnight to take a selfie in the middle of the field because they are an extreme Bucs fan, they would likely not be guilty of burglary.

The burden of proof rests upon the prosecution to prove criminal intent based on the circumstances of the case. 

Illegal Entry

If the accused person can prove they genuinely believed they were welcome in the place with the permission, consent or invitation of the owner or occupant, this can be a valid defense to unlawful entry in a conveyance or structure.

Implied Invitation of a Public Place 

If the dwelling was open to the public, an argument to a charge of burglary can be made due to the implicit invitation to enter or remain on the premises.

Burglary is prosecuted in Florida to the fullest extent of the law, and anyone accused of the crime should exercise their Constitution right to representation immediately. The Tampa Criminal defense attorneys at Smith & Eulo law firm will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to provide the finest legal counsel to help defend against these very serious charges. Call us today for a free consultation: (813) 359 – 8667