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Burglary in Florida

There are three types of Burglary crimes in Florida:

  1. Burglary of a Dwelling
  2. Burglary of a Structure
  3. Burglary of a Conveyance

If accused of Burglary in Florida, you need to know the:

Definition of Burglary

The crime of Burglary can be committed in one of two ways:

  1. Unlawfully entering a dwelling, structure, or conveyance with the intent to commit a crime inside; or
  2. Lawfully entering a dwelling, structure, or conveyance, but then remaining inside either:
    1. Surreptitiously, with the intent to commit a crime;
    2. After permission to remain has been withdrawn, with the intent to commit a crime inside; or
    3. With the intent to commit a forcible felony.

Penalties for Burglary

The penalties for the crime of Burglary depend on which type of Burglary you are charged with:

Defenses to Burglary

In addition to the pretrial and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific defenses to the crime of Burglary include:

Consent

Consent to enter is not an element of Burglary, but is an affirmative defense to the crime. A defendant has the burden to offer evidence of consent. But once evidence of consent is presented, the prosecutor must disprove the consent to enter beyond a reasonable doubt. [1]

Consent is usually raised when there are multiple people who exercise authority over the property, one of whom gave consent to enter or use it to a defendant. Under such circumstance a defendant cannot be convicted of burglary just because the other people were unaware that authorization was given.

Open to the Public

If an establishment is "open to the public" a person by definition has consensually entered a business, no matter what the subjective intentions for entering were. As a result, the right to "remain inside" is implied unless the State has proof that the implied consent to "remain inside" was withdrawn. So if a defendant commits a crime inside (such as theft or robbery) the defendant cannot also be convicted of Burglary. [2]

Off Limits or Employee Only Area

The "Open to the Public" defense does not apply to an off limits or employee only area of a business and a burglary conviction will be upheld if such an area is entered. [3]

Lack of Intent to Commit a Crime

One of the elements necessary to support a conviction for Burglary is the intent to commit a crime inside the dwelling, structure, of conveyance. Usually this is proven by showing that a person entered stealthily. [4]

However, if a person shows lawful reasons for entering, such as to get out of the rain or to find a place to sleep, a person cannot be convicted of burglary (although a conviction for trespass may be proper).

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Burglary in Central Florida or the greater Orlando area, please contact Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.

References

  1. D.R. v. State, 734 So. 2d 455 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999)
  2. Miller v. State, 713 So. 2d 1008 (Fla. 1998)
  3. Thomas v. State, 742 So. 2d 326 (Fla. 3d DCA 1999)
  4. K.H. v. State, 620 So. 2d 1114 (Fla. 5th DCA 1993)