When most people think of burglars, they think of someone in a dark-brimmed hat, wearing a long black trench coat who breaks into homes to steal jewelry and other valuables. In Florida (and most states), however, the state can charge you with burglary even if you have not broken into another person’s home or business. You can also sustain a burglary charge even if you have not stolen items from someone else’s property.
What is Burglary in Florida?
In order to prove that you committed a burglary, the State must be able to prove all of the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Specifically, the State must be able to prove that you:
- Unlawfully entered a residence, business, building, or vehicle—or unlawfully remained inside one of those structures after-hours
- Had the intent to commit a crime while inside the structure
Burglary is a specific intent crime. As such, you must have intended to commit some underlying offense during the commission of the burglary. However, in order to be convicted of burglary, the underlying offense need not be theft (although it can be). Other underlying offenses could support a burglary charge, including:
- Computer crime
- Homicide (for example, murder or manslaughter)
- Sexual assault or rape
A burglar need not use force in order to gain access to a home or building to commit a burglary. In other words, the burglar does not need to pick a lock, break a window, or undertake any similar activity. Entering a home or business through an open door without permission—and with the specific intent to commit a crime while inside the building—may constitute burglary under the law.
Likewise, remaining in a business after it has closed, and with the intent to commit a crime while there, can amount to burglary. Finally, in order to constitute a burglary, the underlying crime need not actually be committed or completed. Merely satisfying the intent element is sufficient for the crime of burglary to be deemed complete.
Burglary Can Result in Significant Legal Penalties
Burglary arrests, charges, and convictions are serious business in the State of Florida. The penalties upon conviction can be heavy and may include long periods of incarceration, depending upon the circumstances of the particular crime. If the State has charged you with committing a burglary, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel as soon as you can.
The skilled St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyers at Khonsari Law Group may be able to represent you throughout your case by negotiating with the prosecution on your behalf, representing you in court, or helping you obtain a reduced penalty or sentence upon conviction.
Call a St. Petersburg DUI Criminal Defense Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Florida Burglary Charge
Given the potential penalties upon conviction, you do not want to represent yourself in a Florida burglary case. The St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyers at Khonsari Law Group may be able to represent you throughout your case and minimize the impact of a burglary charge or conviction on your life.
To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a St. Petersburg, Florida criminal defense lawyer, please call us at (727) 269-5300 or contact us online.