Defending You Against Burglary Charges
Burglary is an serious criminal charge that is vigorously prosecuted in the state of Florida. There are three degrees of burglary based on the severity of the crime, and the penalties for a burglary conviction are significant, including jail time and fines. This makes having an aggressive criminal defense attorney in your corner critically important.
What is burglary?
Florida law defines burglary as:
- Entering a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the defendant is licensed or invited to enter.
- Notwithstanding a licensed or invited entry, remaining in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance:
- Surreptitiously, with the intent to commit an offense therein;
- After permission to remain therein has been withdrawn, with the intent to commit an offense therein
- To commit or attempt to commit a forcible felony.
In short, you can be charged with burglary if the police have probable cause to believe you went into a place you otherwise were not entitled to be with the intent of committing an unlawful act. Moreover, burglary typically involves unlawful breaking and entering, and the taking of another’s property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the owner of the property. A common misconception is that you have to “break in” to be convicted of burglary. However, just walking in to a place you have no right to be in is enough to meet that element in the burglary statute.
In any event, intent is a key element in these crimes, which means the even if no property is actually stolen or damaged, burglary charges may still be brought.
Defenses Against Burglary Charges in Florida
There a number of defenses that can be raised against burglary charges. First and foremost, an experienced criminal defense attorney will look to present evidence of your innocence such as an alibi — you were not at the scene when the crime occurred.
On the other hand, it may be possible to demonstrate that the property owner consented to your presence on the property or that the property was actually open to the public at the time. Finally, since intent is a critical element of the crime, an experienced attorney can also show that you did not have the necessary intent or motivation to commit the crime.
Regardless of the charges you are facing, the prosecution must prove all of the elements of the crime of burglary existed beyond a reasonable doubt. Ultimately, a skilled Florida burglary defense attorney will raise all applicable defenses and attack the prosecution’s evidence, arguments, and witnesses.
If you or a loved one has been charged with burglary, the best decision you can make is to contact Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC. We know how much is at stake and will vigorously defend you and your rights.