Stephen G. Cobb - Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

Hillsborough County Attorney: Criminal Defense Of A Charge Of Burglary


If you are charged with a crime, the first thing that you need to do is to keep your basic rights in mind. These rights, called the Miranda Rights, should be read to you at the time of your arrest and repeated before you are questioned for the first time. The rights that are the most important to you at this point are the rights to remain silent and the right to have an attorney. If you cannot afford one, a Hillsborough County attorney will be appointed to you to assist you through initial questioning, booking, arraignment and the trial. If you can afford one however, do not hesitate to make that call. In most cases, especially in ones involving the potential for lengthy jail or prison time, a court will not hear the case without an attorney in place. Burglary can potentially be such a case.

A burglary is a felony crime by which someone has entered a dwelling or structure with the intent to commit or attempt to commit an offense unless it is open to the public (at the time of the entry) or the person had invitation or permission to be inside. It can also include entry into the same structures after permission is withdrawn or revoked for any reason.

At this point, a Florida defense attorney has the option to try to make a plea bargain, including a plea of guilty to a lesser charge, perhaps trespassing or criminal mischief (a second degree misdemeanor charge punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 dollar fine and other costs). A plea bargain will only work in certain situations however. If there is more than $200 in damages to the structure, for instance, then it would no longer qualify as the lesser charge of criminal mischief. If items are actually stolen and later recovered, the charge of trespassing may not be a viable option either.

A Florida defense lawyer may explain to you that if it is a simple burglary charge that is one thing, but additional charges that can be added can increase the penalties and fines greatly. For instance, if you use a car in the commission of the crime or you cause damages to a structure in excess of $1,000, the case is automatically elevated. If you enter the building armed or become armed once inside, you can be charged with the higher crime of armed robbery.

Stephen G. Cobb, Esq.

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