In Florida, a guilty finding or conviction for burglary can land you in jail. In St. Petersburg criminal cases, the State—or the prosecution—has the burden of proof. The State must be able to show that you satisfied certain elements and that you committed the crime of burglary beyond a reasonable doubt.
Thankfully, burglary, like other criminal charges, has various legal defenses associated with it. The accused has the burden of proving those defenses.
If you face a St. Petersburg burglary charge, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer advocating for you. The skilled criminal defense lawyers at Khonsari Law Group know how to assert a good defense and work hard to get their clients’ burglary charges dismissed.
Florida can prosecute a burglary charge as a first, second, or third-degree felony. In order to prove that the defendant committed first-degree burglary, the prosecutor must be able to show that he or she used a motor vehicle to damage a structure or dwelling house. A defendant may also be charged with first-degree burglary if he or she caused more than $1,000 of damage to the structure or dwelling house.
To prove a second-degree burglary charge, the prosecution must show that the defendant broke into a structure, dwelling, or conveyance. A building must be used for habitation to qualify as a dwelling. A structure is a building not designed for habitation. A conveyance refers to a vehicle, boat, or other property. The state may prosecute burglaries not fitting into these two categories as third-degree felonies.
Statutory Definition of Burglary
In order for a crime to meet the statutory definition of burglary under Florida law, the defendant must have:
- Entered a structure, dwelling, or conveyance
- With the intention of committing a crime or other offense therein
- Unless the premises are opened to the public at the time or the defendant is otherwise permitted to enter the premises
A defendant’s charges may also fit within the Florida statutory definition of burglary if he or she allegedly remains on or in a structure, dwelling, or conveyance after-hours, with the intention of committing a felony therein—or after the defendant’s permission to enter the premises has expired.
Penalties Upon Conviction
If you sustain a burglary conviction, a judge may sentence you to fines, probation, or jail time. A third-degree felony burglary conviction can result in five years in jail, along with a fine of $5,000. A second-degree felony burglary conviction can result in 15 years of incarceration, as well as a $10,000 fine. A third-degree felony burglary conviction can result in life imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
Contact a St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you have sustained burglary charges, you may be able to allege a defense. For example, you may be able to allege that you had permission to be present on the property—or that the property was open to the public at the time in question. The criminal defense attorneys at Khonsari Law Group assist clients in effectively defending against serious burglary charges and other allegations. Call us at (727) 269-5300 or contact us online for a free case evaluation and consultation.