Burglary of a Structure
Burglary of a structure is taken seriously and comes with significant penalties. The structure can include all types of buildings that have a roof. You can be convicted even if you only entered the curtilage of the structure. You can be convicted even if you initially entered lawfully, but other conditions such as intent to commit a crime or a forcible felony were present when you stayed. Clearwater burglary defense lawyer Will Hanlon at Hanlon Law protects the rights of people accused of burglary in structures, dwellings, and conveyances.Fighting a Charge of Burglary of a Structure
A conviction for burglary of a structure can be obtained under Florida Statute section 810.02 if it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you (1) entered (2) a structure, (3) intending to commit a crime inside. For example, if you broke into a warehouse where you knew that your dealer's meth was stored, planning to steal the heroin, you could be charged with burglary of a structure. For another example, if you broke into a store intending to beat up the storeowner, you could be charged with burglary of a structure.
You could also be convicted if you stayed inside, surreptitiously intending to commit a crime, or if you stayed inside after permission was withdrawn, intending to commit a crime, or if you stayed inside in order to commit or try to commit a forcible felony. For example, if you stayed inside the bathroom of a public art gallery after hours, planning to come out and steal valuable artwork, you could be charged with burglary.
Assuming that you did not commit a battery or an assault, nor were armed with a firearm or another dangerous weapon, and nobody was inside the structure when you entered or stayed, you can face third-degree felony charges. The maximum sentence for third-degree felony burglary of a structure is 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
If you are caught committing burglary of a structure, but you did not actually batter or assault anyone, nor were you armed, you may face second-degree burglary charges. A second-degree felony sentence is a maximum of 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
When the burglary is committed in order to steal controlled substances, you may also face separate judgments and sentences for the burglary and drug crime charges. For example, if you broke into your dealer's warehouse to steal morphine, but you were not armed and did not hurt anyone, and you successfully took more than the threshold amount of morphine, you could face burglary of a structure charges as well as morphine trafficking charges.
Burglary of a structure will be charged as a first-degree felony if the prosecutor shows that you committed battery or assault against someone during the burglary. A first-degree felony can also be charged if you were armed or you got armed with a dangerous explosive or weapon while burglarizing. A first-degree felony can also be charged if you used a motor vehicle to help commit the offense (not just as a getaway vehicle) and in doing this, damaged the structure, or if you damaged the structure in an amount worth more than $1,000 during the burglary. It is possible to be sentenced to life imprisonment for a first-degree felony.
You should not assume that a conviction is guaranteed. The earlier that a Clearwater criminal attorney gets involved, the greater is the likelihood of developing a strong defense. We may be able to argue that you had an invitation to enter, or that there was no proper withdrawal of the invitation. We might argue that you did not have the requisite intent to commit a crime.Seek Guidance from a Theft Crime Lawyer in the Clearwater Area
Burglary of a structure is a serious charge in Florida. If you are convicted, you may face significant prison time, particularly if you also committed a battery or if a firearm was involved. Even after you do your time, you may face the stigma of a criminal record. Our firm's founder, Attorney Will Hanlon, has represented people accused of crimes like burglary since 1994. You can call us at 727.897.5413 or use our online form.