Burglary

Burglary is the crime of entering a dwelling, structure, or conveyance without permission, or unlawfully remaining in the dwelling, structure, or conveyance after permission is removed, with the intention of committing a criminal offense.

Definition of Burglary in Florida

The crime of Burglary, as defined by § 810.02, Florida Statutes, involves entering a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance either without an invitation or permission or when dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance is not open to the public, with the intention of committing a criminal offense. The crime of Burglary can also involve lawfully entering but remaining in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance after the invitation or permission expires or is removed, or it is no longer open to the public, with the intention of committing a criminal offense.

The State’s attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime of Burglary by establishing that both of the following elements of the crime occurred:

(1) The defendant entered a structure or conveyance owned by or in the possession of another person or persons, and either:

(a) The defendant did not have a valid invitation, permission, license, or consent to enter the dwelling, structure or conveyance, or the structure or conveyance was not open to the public at the time of entering, or the defendant entered an area of the premises that the defendant knew or should have known was not open to the public; or

(b) The defendant did have a valid invitation, permission, license, or consent to enter the dwelling, structure or conveyance, or the structure or conveyance was open to the public at the time of entering, but when the invitation, permission, license, or consent was withdrawn or expired; or the structure or conveyance became closed to the public, the defendant remained in the dwelling, structure or conveyance.

This means the State of Florida must prove that the defendant either deliberately and unlawfully entered, or deliberately and unlawfully remained, in a dwelling, structure or conveyance.

(2) At the time of entering or remaining in the structure or conveyance, the defendant intended to commit a criminal l offense in that structure or conveyance, or intended to commit or attempt to commit a forcible felony.

This means the State of Florida must prove that the defendant intended to commit a crime inside the structure or conveyance. Intent can be inferred if the entering was done stealthily and without the consent of the owner or occupant. Intent can be established by circumstantial evidence surrounding the crime.

Penalties for Burglary in Florida

Burglary is a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 as provided in § 775.082, § 775.083, or § 775.084, Florida Statutes, if in committing the Burglary, the offender (a) makes an assault or battery upon any person; or (b) is or becomes armed with explosives or a dangerous weapon; or (c) enters an occupied or unoccupied dwelling or structure and uses a motor vehicle to assist in committing the offense, except as a getaway car, and either damages or causes damage in excess of $1,000.

Burglary is a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 as provided in §. 775.082, § 775.083, or § 775.084, Florida Statutes, when the Burglary does not include an assault or a battery, and no firearm or dangerous weapon or explosive is used, and the Burglary includes at least one (1) of the following: (a) there was another person in the structure, dwelling, or conveyance; or (b) there was no other person in the dwelling; or (c) the conveyance was an emergency vehicle; or (d) the offense was the theft of a controlled substance from the structure or conveyance.

Burglary is a third degree felony punishable by up to five (5) years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 as provided in §. 775.082, § 775.083, or § 775.084, Florida Statutes, when the Burglary does not include an assault or a battery, and no firearm or dangerous weapon or explosive is used, and there is not another person in the structure or conveyance at the time the offender enters or remains.

A person arrested for committing a Burglary within a county that is subject to a state of emergency at the time of the Burglary may not be released until the person appears before a committing magistrate at a first appearance hearing. For purposes of sentencing, a felony offense reclassified under this subsection is ranked one level above the felony degrees that are discussed above.

Defenses to Burglary in Florida
  • Proof of permission or consent from the owner, proprietor or resident to be in the building or dwelling
  • The building was open to the public at the time the crime was committed
  • Accidentally being in a store after it closes with no intention or attempt to commit a crime or remain after the store’s employees or other patrons have left
Examples of Burglary in Florida
  • Entering the residence of another person when no one is home with the intention of taking any object that belongs to residents, including but not limited to jewelry, cash, electronics, equipment, tools, art, a thumb drive, etc.
  • Deliberately hiding to remain in a store after it closes with the intention of removing merchandise without paying for it
  • Entering a building that has limited public access without consent or permission from either the owner, proprietor, or residents, with the intention of harming an occupant
  • Entering the off limits area of a public building, such as a room marked with an “Do Not Enter” sign on the door, with the intention of committing a crime anywhere within the building
Contact Us

If you have been charged with the crime of Burglary in Broward, Palm Beach, or Miami-Dade County, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney right away to ensure your rights are protected. The Law Office of Sean Clayton, P.A., can help you better understand your situation and your options. Contact us today for your free consultation.