Some states’ burglary laws are simple to understand. Florida is not one of these states. The laws are complicated, but one thing is clear: the penalties are very severe. If you are charged with a burglary offense in Florida, you are up against potentially life changing consequences.
A burglary conviction won’t only put you in prison, it could force you to carry the label of “convicted felon” for the rest of your life. In addition, you will likely be required to pay thousands of dollars in fines. The best way to avoid these consequences is to avoid a conviction at all costs.
The first step in understanding exactly what you are up against is understanding the laws and the charges against you. The charge you face for a burglary offense in Florida is dependent on a number of factors.
Florida Burglary Penalties
The penalties for any burglary conviction have the potential to be life-changing. But there are certain situations that can make the stakes even higher.
Under Florida laws, burglary is defined as entering a dwelling or structure with the intent of committing an offense and without permission or legal right to be there. The facts of your case and the evidence that the prosecution has will determine the exact charge.
Third Degree Felony Burglary
If the burglary is committed on a structure that is not a dwelling (where someone lives), and the building is not occupied at the time of the offense, you will likely be charged with a 3rd degree felony. A conviction of this sort of crime can carry up to 5 years in prison.
Second Degree Felony Burglary
If you are accused of burglary where you did not have a weapon and were no one was hurt, and the property on which it was committed was one of the following, you could be charged with a second degree burglary:
- A dwelling
- An occupied structure or conveyance,
- An authorized emergency vehicle (police car, ambulance, fire truck, etc.), or
- A building where the offense to be committed is the theft of a controlled substance.
A second degree felony charge can carry up to 15 years in prison and fines.
First Degree Felony Burglary
Burglary can be classified as a first degree felony under circumstances where:
- You are armed or become armed during the commission of the offense,
- You commit an assault or battery upon another person,
- You use a motor vehicle in entering the building, thereby damaging it, or
- You cause damage to the building during the commission of the offense and the damage is valued at more than $1,000.
A first degree felony carries up to 30 years in prison upon conviction.
The stakes are high when you are accused of burglary. Let us put you in touch with a local defense lawyer today.