Burglary of a Dwelling in Florida
Florida Statute §810.02(3) states that a person may be charged with Burglary of a Dwelling if they are found unlawfully entering any Dwelling or remaining inside any Dwelling, or continuing to remain in a Dwelling even after permission has been refused or withdrawn by the owners. The defendant must also have the intention of committing a criminal act inside the property.
Dwellings may include conveyances or buildings, which have a roof and have been specifically made to be used by people for lodging purposes at night and also includes surrounding curtilage.
This offense is a Felony of the Second Degree within the state of Florida. The court may impose any of these following penalties in any combination:
Fine not exceeding $10000
Probation period not exceeding 15 years
Imprisonment period not exceeding 15 years
Applicable Specific Defenses
If you had the consent to enter the premises, that is a credible defense against the charge and can get the charge dismissed. However, if it has been successfully proven that the defendant had consent, the prosecutor has to disprove this evidence beyond reasonable doubt or face dismissal of charges.
The question of consent comes into play if they are multiple owners or people who have authority over this property. Even if anyone of them had consented for the defendant to use or enter the premises, the charges against the defendant are to be dismissed. The fact that other owners were not aware of your authorization to use and enter the dwelling is not valid grounds for a person to be convicted of this offense.
Lack of intent
In order to convict a person successfully under this crime, the prosecution must prove that the defendant had the intention of unlawfully entering the property in question for the purposes of committing a crime. It is usually proven by presenting evidence that the defendant entered a property in a stealthy manner.
In case the defendant can show that he had only non-criminal motivation for his entry into the premises, like for finding a location to sleep or to escape the rain, he cannot be charged with this offense.
Employee Only or Off-Limits Area
This open to the public defense is not applicable in any place that has been marked Employee Only or Off-Limits. If the defendant has entered these areas, he may be charged under this crime.
Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Larry Avallone
If you've been charged or arrested in the Daytona Beach area, contact Larry Avallone, who is an expert Criminal Defense Lawyer in Volusia County. My initial consultation is free. I am ready to provide legal advice regarding the next steps of your case.