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Protecting your rights in burglary cases

Many people liken burglary to robbery or other theft crimes when, in reality, the offense of burglary under Florida law1 encompasses many situations that may not involve any type of stealing. Additionally, when you think of burglary, you may think of “breaking and entering,” though you do not actually have to “break into” a building to end up facing burglary charges. Burglary cases in Florida may be much more complicated than most people imagine and may carry serious consequences. For this reason, you should always contact Florida burglary defense attorney Stephen G. Cobb as soon as possible if you have been arrested or charged.

The elements of burglary

In order to convict you of burglary, a prosecutor must prove that:

  • You entered a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance;
  • You had the intention of committing a crime within the premises; and
  • You did not have license or invitation to enter.

If you did originally have license or invitation to enter the dwelling, structure, or conveyance, burglary charges may still apply if the following occurred:

  • You secretly remained on the premises with the intention of committing a crime; or
  • You remained after the license or invitation had been withdrawn with the intention of committing a crime.

Note that the crime in question does not have to involve stealing or otherwise taking property from the premises. Instead, you may face burglary charges if you were allegedly wrongfully in the building to commit a battery, sexual assault, or another criminal offense against the laws of Florida. You may also face criminal charges if you are suspected to possess burglary tools2 or other implements with which you intended to enter a building.

Possible consequences of burglary convictions

Burglary charges are much more serious than many people may believe. Burglary may be charged as different ways depending on the circumstances of the offense, including:

First-degree felony
  • Assault or battery is committed on another person on the premises
  • Involves a firearm, dangerous weapon, or motor vehicle as a weapon
  • Causes over $1,000 worth of damage to the property
  • Committed in a state of emergency

Second-degree felony

  • Enters a structure or conveyance and another person is present on the premises
  • Enters a person’s home (whether or not the person is present)

Third-degree felony

  • Enters a structure or conveyance and no person is present on the premises
  • Possesses tools intended to commit a burglary

Depending on the situation, you may face anywhere from five (5) to 30 years in state prison if you are convicted of burglary. Burglary is a serious charge with potentially severe consequences, so you should always have a highly skilled legal defense team handling your case. If you have been arrested for or charged with burglary under any type of circumstances, do not hesitate to contact the Cobb Criminal Defense Law Firm in Florida today.

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