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Burglary of a Structure

Burglary of a Structure in Florida

Florida Statute §810.02(4)(a) states that a person may be charged with burglary of a structure if they are found unlawfully entering any structure or remaining inside any structure, or continuing to remain in a structure even after permission has been refused or withdrawn by the owners.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.

Structures include buildings, which may be permanent or temporary that have a tangible roof over them along with a curtilage around it as well.

Applicable Penalties

The penalties may differ based on whether the relevant structure was unoccupied or occupied during the burglary event.

Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure

This offense is a Felony of the Third Degree within the state of Florida. The court may impose any of these following penalties in any combination:

Fine not exceeding $5000

Probation period not exceeding 5 years

Imprisonment period not exceeding 5 years

Burglary of an Occupied Structure

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 Defenses

Bystander

When two people are walking to a specific destination, and one of them engages in illegal activities like entering the premises of a closed business or abandoned home. If such people are caught by law enforcement officers, the second person who was merely an onlooker may be charged to be an equal accomplice since they assume that the second person was the lookout.

In such cases, just standing together with the first person is not enough grounds for the second person to be convicted of trespass or burglary unless the second person said or did something that encouraged, assisted, caused, or incited the first person to carry out this illegal crime.

Consent

If you had the consent to enter the premises, that is a credible defense against the charge and can get the charge dismissed. The defense is obligated to provide evidence regarding consent if it exists. However, if it has been successfully proven that the defendant had consent, the prosecutor must disprove this evidence beyond reasonable doubt or face dismissal of charges.  

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.

However, 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.

Open to the Public

In case the dwelling had been open to the public, any person who entered the premises has entered consensually and cannot be convicted under this charge, regardless of what the defendant's true intentions were. Therefore, in such a situation, the defendant can stay inside unless the prosecution can produce concrete evidence that this consent had been withdrawn. Therefore, any person who is charged under a crime like a robbery or theft cannot be charged with this offense, as per the provisions of this law.

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.

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