Hollywood Burglary Defense Attorneys
In general, it’s illegal to enter another person’s home for any reason without their permission. If you enter their home with the intent to commit a crime, you could be arrested and charged with burglary. This charge can come about if you’re accused of entering the property to steal something, but it’s also possible to be charged with burglary even if the intended crime wasn’t theft-related. Find out more about burglary charges, including the potential consequences and how to protect your rights, below.
Everyone makes mistakes and is deserving of a rigorous defense. At Magilligan Law, we have a deep understanding of the criminal law statutes in Florida, and we’re prepared to help clients accused of burglary fight back against these charges. Find out how our team can help and get started today when you call our Hollywood, Florida, office and schedule a free 15-minute case evaluation.
How Is Burglary Different From Theft and Other Crimes?
Burglary is a property crime, and it’s often used in the same manner as theft, but these are different charges. Florida statute 810.02 defines burglary as “entering a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein.” Note that this does not apply if the “premises are at the time open to the public or the defendant is licensed or invited to enter.” In layman’s terms, this means entering someone’s property without their permission to commit a crime. In many cases, that crime may be to steal something, but it doesn’t have to be theft-related.
Is Burglary a Felony or Misdemeanor in Florida?
In the state of Florida, burglary is classified as a felony, but the degree depends on the circumstances of the alleged crime. For example, if the alleged burglary didn’t include a weapon and there was no intent to harm a person, it is likely to be a third-degree felony. If someone was assaulted or battered in the process of the burglary, if a weapon was brandished, it is likely to be charged as a first-degree felony — and there could be additional charges for the assault and battery. A second-degree felony burglary charge is possible as well. These charges can involve burglary with the intent to steal a controlled substance, the theft of an emergency vehicle, or going onto an occupied property.
What Can I Be Sentenced to If I’m Convicted of Burglary?
The potential penalties associated with burglary also depend on the degree of the charge. Third-degree burglary is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Second-degree burglary is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. First-degree burglary, which is the most serious, is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
It’s also important to note that Florida has a three-strikes rule, which means that if you have previous violent felony convictions, you can face increased penalties for subsequent offenses. If this is your first felony charge, it’s still important to do everything in your power to mount a strong defense because you could incur your first strike under this law if you’re convicted.
How Are Some Defense Strategies?
Burglary charges hinge on showing that you 1) entered the premises without invitation and 2) that you did so with the intent to commit a crime. Therefore, the defense strategies for those charged with burglary usually hinge on arguing that one or both of these conditions didn’t happen. Below are some common defense strategies for burglary charges that your attorney may discuss with you:
- Having an alibi: If you can show that you weren’t at the property at the time the crime was committed, this is a very strong defense.
- Having authorization to enter the property: If you had permission to be on the property by the owner or another means, the situation may not meet the requirements to be charged with burglary.
- Lacking intent to commit the crime: If you did not intend to commit a crime after accessing the property, burglary charges may not be applicable.
There are other defenses, such as claiming entrapment, that may be an option depending on your circumstances. It’s important to talk with a criminal defense attorney to determine which defense strategies may work for your situation and the pros and cons of each.
Is a Plea Deal a Good Idea?
Criminal defense attorneys get a lot of questions about plea deals and whether entering into one is a good idea. A plea deal can be a solid defense strategy if your attorney doesn’t believe that you are likely to win at trial, but it’s important to understand exactly what’s involved and what’s at stake. While you may be able to plead guilty in exchange for a lesser charge or sentence, you will be stated on the record that you committed a crime. You will also be sentenced for that crime, which means you may not be able to avoid jail time. A plea deal might be a better option for those with multiple felony convictions who may be at risk of very severe penalties under Florida’s three-strikes rule if they were to be convicted again.
Call Our Hollywood Burglary Defense Attorneys Today!
The state has extensive resources when it comes to investigating and prosecuting crimes, and it can be daunting — and a bad idea for your defense — to try to navigate the criminal justice system alone. That’s why the attorneys at Magilligan Law are here to help clients understand what’s happening when they’re charged with burglary and their options for defense. To get started, call our office at 954-866-8058 to schedule a free 15-minute case evaluation with an attorney.