A person may be charged with theft in Florida if he or she unlawfully takes the property of another person with the intention of permanently depriving him or her of the property, and a person can be charged with trespassing when he or she enters certain types of property without permission. If a person allegedly commits both of these offenses at the same time, then he or she could very well be facing charges of burglary.
Under Florida Statute § 810.02, an alleged offender commits this crime when he or she enters or remains in a certain type of property with the intent to commit a criminal offense therein. This means that person can be charged with this offense even if he or she never actually takes anything or commits the additional crime.
St. Petersburg Burglary Lawyer
Were you arrested in Florida for allegedly burglarizing a dwelling, structure, or conveyance? You will want to be sure that you have legal representation capable of getting these criminal charges reduced or dismissed.
Our Pinellas County burglary attorneys at Morris Law Firm, P.A. represent clients throughout the St. Petersburg area, including Clearwater, Tampa, and many other surrounding communities. You can have our firm provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (727) 388-4736 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Florida Burglary Information Center
- What is the difference between a dwelling, a structure, and a conveyance?
- How does the type of property affect the classification of the offense?
- Are there any defenses against these charges?
These types of criminal charges are greatly impacted by the type of residential or commercial property that was allegedly involved. Florida Statute § 810.02 established three different types of property:
- Structure — This is a building of any kind, either temporary or permanent, which has a roof over it, together with its curtilage (the land immediately surrounding it).
- Dwelling — This is 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.
- Conveyance — This is any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad vehicle or car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car.
It is important to understand that an alleged victim does not need to be present in any of these locations in order for a burglary to take place. The definitions listed above are subject to change if the governor issues a declaration of emergency under Chapter 252 of the Florida Statutes.
This crime simply involves an alleged offender entering one of these three types of properties with the intent to commit a crime therein. However, the presence of a victim, as well as certain other factors, can impact the severity of the criminal charges.
Regardless of the specific classification of the property involved, every version of this crime is classified as a felony offense.
Under Florida Statute § 810.06, it is a third-degree felony simply to possess items that are considered “burglary tools,” meaning any tool, machine, or implement that can be used to commit burglary. Additionally, Florida Statute § 810.061 also makes it a third-degree felony for an alleged offender to either damage a wire or line that transmits or conveys telephone or power to a dwelling or impair any other equipment necessary for telephone or power transmission to a conveyance for the purpose of facilitating or furthering the commission or attempted commission of this crime in a dwelling or conveyance.
Whether it is commercial burglary or residential burglary, this crime can be classified as follows:
- Third-Degree Felony — An alleged offender enters or remains in a structure or conveyance in which there is not another person at the time of the alleged offense.
- Second-Degree Felony — An alleged offender enters or remains in a dwelling in which there is not another person at the time of the alleged offense, a dwelling, structure, or conveyance in which there is another person at the time of the alleged offense, an authorized emergency vehicle, or a structure or conveyance when the alleged offense intended to be committed is theft of a controlled substance.
- First-Degree Felony — An alleged offender makes an assault or battery upon any person during the commission of a burglary, 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 either uses a motor vehicle as an instrument 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.
The possible consequences of a conviction for this crime are severe. An alleged offender faces a very lengthy sentence of imprisonment as well as also being ordered to pay substantial fines.
The statutory maximums allowable in these cases depend on the classification of the crime. If convicted of residential burglary or commercial burglary, a person could receive one of the following sentences:
- Third-Degree Felony — A term of imprisonment not exceeding five years and/or fine not exceeding $5,000.
- Second-Degree Felony — A term of imprisonment not exceeding 15 years and/or fine not exceeding $10,000.
- First-Degree Felony — A term of imprisonment not exceeding 30 years and/or fine not exceeding $10,000.
Find a Burglary Lawyer in St. Petersburg
If you were arrested for allegedly entering or remaining in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance with the intent to commit a crime, you should immediately seek experienced legal counsel. As a former felony prosecutor for the State Attorney’s Office, Melinda Morris has handled thousands of criminal cases on both sides of the aisle and knows how to craft winning legal strategies.
Morris Law Firm, P.A. aggressively defends clients in Hillsborough County, Manatee County, Sarasota County, Pasco County, and many surrounding areas of Florida. Our Pinellas County burglary attorneys can review your case as soon as you call (727) 388-4736 to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.