Burglary is a “crime of intent” in which law enforcement makes accusations about illegal actions that often involve the alleged theft of property.
But unlike many other non-violent misdemeanor crimes, burglary — breaking and entering into or remaining in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance without the owner’s permission with the intent to commit a crime — is a felony under Section 810.02 of the Florida Statutes.
An alleged burglar doesn’t need to make off with any property; intent to steal is enough to justify a burglary charge. If an assault or battery occurs, or if a weapon is used, or if a victim is present during a burglary, the charges may be elevated to an even more serious felony violation.
By law, a third-degree burglary conviction in Florida will impose a minimum penalty of a prison sentence of between one and five years and a fine of up to $5,000. Elevated burglary charges could result in extremely harsher penalties.
Burglary Defense Attorneys in Brevard County, FL
If you were arrested for burglary in Brevard County, Florida, or the cities of Palm Bay, Melbourne, Titusville, or anywhere else along Florida’s Space Coast, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy to assist in your defense.
The capable criminal defense attorneys at Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy have many years of experience representing people who have been charged with burglary. In investigating burglary cases, we often find that no ill intent existed and a person accused of burglary may have unwittingly ventured into a restricted area or trespassed unknowingly, resulting in a reduction or dismissal of charges.
Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy represent clients throughout Brevard County, including Melbourne, West Melbourne, Palm Bay, Titusville, Viera, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Satellite Beach, Merritt Island, Indialantic, and Rockledge, as well as Volusia County, Seminole County, Orange County, Osceola County, and Indian River County, FL.
Call (321) 253-3447 to reach the knowledgeable Brevard County criminal defense attorneys at Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy today to schedule a free initial appointment to discuss your case.
Burglary along Florida’s Space Coast
According to the Florida Statutes, § 810.02, to prove the crime of burglary in Florida, the State must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant entered a dwelling, structure or conveyance owned by or in possession of the alleged victim, and
- At the time of entering the dwelling, structure, or conveyance, the defendant had the intent to commit a specific crime or an offense other than burglary or trespass in that dwelling, structure, or conveyance (the offense intended cannot be trespass or burglary)
If the defendant claims that he or she had an invitation or license to enter a dwelling, structure, or conveyance, the State must also prove that the defendant was not licensed or invited to enter the dwelling, structure, or conveyance or, in the case of a public place, the premises were not open to the public at the time of the entering.
A “dwelling” is defined as “a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, 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 curtilage thereof.”
A “structure” means “a building of any kind, either temporary or permanent, which has a roof over it, together with the curtilage thereof.”
A “conveyance” means “any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad vehicle or car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car; and “to enter a conveyance” includes taking apart any portion of the conveyance.”
(See F.S. §§ 810.011(1), (2), and (3).)
Entering a restricted place secretly, surreptitiously, or in a stealthy manner is considered evidence of the intent to commit a crime. Even if no crime is committed, the intent to carry out a crime may result in a burglary charge.
Penalties for Burglary in Melbourne, FL
Burglary is a third-degree felony, if, in the course of committing the offense, the offender does not make an assault or battery and is not and does not become armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive, and the offender enters or remains in a structure or conveyance with no one inside at the time the offender enters or remains.
A third-degree felony is punishable in Florida by a prison sentence of one to five years and a fine of up to $5,000.
Burglary is a second-degree felony in Florida if, in the course of committing the offense, the offender does not make an assault or battery and is not and does not become armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive, and the offender enters or remains in a:
- Dwelling, and there is another person in the dwelling at the time the offender enters or remains;
- Dwelling, and there is not another person in the dwelling at the time the offender
- Structure, and there is another person in the structure at the time the offender enters or remains;
- Conveyance, and there is another person in the conveyance at the time the offender enters or remains;
- Authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in F.S. § 316.003; or
- Structure or conveyance when the offense intended to be committed therein is theft of a controlled substance as defined in F.S. § 893.02. Notwithstanding any other law, separate judgments and sentences for burglary with the intent to commit theft of a controlled substance under this paragraph and for any applicable possession of controlled substance offense under F.S. § 893.13 or trafficking in controlled substance offense under F.S. § 893.135 may be imposed when all such offenses involve the same amount or amounts of a controlled substance.
A second-degree felony is punishable in Florida by sentence of up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Burglary is a first-degree felony if, in the course of committing the offense, the offender:
- Makes an assault or battery upon any person; or
- Is or becomes armed within the dwelling, structure, or conveyance, with explosives or a dangerous weapon; or
- Enters an occupied or unoccupied dwelling or structure, and:
- Uses a motor vehicle as an instrumentality, other than merely as a getaway vehicle, to assist in committing the offense, and thereby damages the dwelling or structure; or
- Causes damage to the dwelling or structure, or to property within the dwelling or structure in excess of $1,000
A first-degree felony is punishable in Florida by a sentence of up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
(See F.S. §§ 775.082 and 775.083.)
Burglary charges are often accompanied by other criminal allegations, including trespassing, assault, battery, theft, or robbery.
Possession of burglary tools (F.S. § 810.06) or cutting off the power or phone lines to a dwelling to facilitate a burglary (F.S. § 810.06) are other specific crimes that could be related to burglary. Possession of recently stolen property (F.S. § 812.022) could also be used as evidence to support a burglary charge.
Florida Statutes, Title XLVI, Chapters 810 — Burglary and Trespass — Read the section of the Florida statutes related to burglary and trespass.
Florida Supreme Court, Standard Criminal Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases 13.1 (Burglary) — Find a link to the exact instructions that are delivered to juries in burglary cases in Florida.
Attorney for Burglary Charges in Melbourne and Brevard County, FL
If you were arrested for burglary in Melbourne, Florida, or Brevard County, FL, you should consult with a local attorney experienced in defending people against burglary charges.
Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy has the experience and resources to defend you on a burglary charge. We may be able to show that any criminal allegations made by the state lack intent, which could lead to a reduction or dismissal of charges. .
At Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, we represent people throughout Brevard County, including Melbourne, Palm Bay, Titusville, Cocoa, and Rockledge. We also accept cases from clients in Indian River, Osceola, Orange, and Volusia counties. We always work to obtain the best favorable outcome. We will challenge the all aspects of the state’s case, including the evidence, or the arrest itself.