In Florida, burglary is considered to be a crime in which someone enters or occupies a residence or premises for the purpose of committing a crime. Prosecutors may generally establish that there was specific intent to commit a crime after entering a premises to earn a burglary conviction. Prosecutors must also show that a person entered a premises without permission or stayed after an invitation to do so expired.
A burglary charge could be a first-degree felony if a motor vehicle was used to destroy property or if more than $1,000 of damage was done to a home or building. If a home or building was burglarized without the use of a deadly weapon, the charge may be a second-degree felony. This may also be appropriate if a defendant did not assault anyone while committing the crime.
Those who are convicted of a first-degree felony burglary charge may face life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A conviction on a second-degree charge may come with a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000. Those who are convicted of a third-degree burglary charge may face up to five years in prison in addition to a fine of up to $5,000.
A burglary charge may come with significant penalties for those who are convicted. Hiring an attorney may be helpful in creating a defense that may cast doubt on the charge. If sufficient doubt is created, it may result in charges being dismissed or a plea agreement being reached. In a burglary case, an attorney may argue that a defendant had the right to be in a premises or that there was no intent to commit a crime while there.