Burglary

Theft Crime Attorney Fighting for Defendants in Clearwater and St. Petersburg

If you have been charged with the offense of burglary, you should know that you could be facing stiff punishment under Florida laws if you are convicted. This means that you should consult a theft crime lawyer as soon as possible. In the past, many people used the terms “burglary” and “breaking and entering” interchangeably, but it is important to note that the State of Florida no longer needs to prove that the defendant “broke in” to a home or dwelling in order for the defendant to be convicted of burglary. In fact, there have been many changes in Florida’s burglary laws over the years, and many of the common law elements of burglary are no longer applicable. Experienced St. Petersburg and Clearwater burglary defense lawyer Will Hanlon has been handling these cases for many years, and he is here to serve your legal needs during this challenging time.

In order for the State of Florida to obtain a criminal conviction against a person accused of violating the law, it must prove each and every element of the crime in question. “Elements” are basically the building blocks of a criminal prosecution. In order to prove a particular offense, the State must present a set of facts that convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant both had the mental state and committed the acts required by the statute.

Understanding the Elements That Must Be Proved in a Burglary Case

Florida Statutes § 810.02 defines the crime of burglary as entering a dwelling, structure, or conveyance with the intent to commit an offense inside it. As a burglary defense attorney in Clearwater or St. Petersburg can explain, this is not always as straightforward as it sounds. Generally, a defendant may defeat or avoid a burglary charge if the premises in question were open to the public at the time of the defendant’s entry, or if the defendant was either invited or licensed to enter the premises or remain there. However, if the State can prove that the defendant remained in the dwelling, structure, or conveyance surreptitiously (after their permission to be there ended) and with the intent to commit an offense in it, there can still be a conviction.

Burglary is a felony offense. Whether the defendant is convicted of a felony in the first degree, second degree, or third degree depends upon, among other things, whether someone else was present in the location at the time of the offense, whether the defendant was armed, whether an assault was committed during the burglary, and how much damage was caused to the location where the alleged crime occurred. The distinction between first, second, and third degrees of felonies is very important, since a first-degree felony can result in a sentence of life in prison, whereas a second-degree felony is generally punishable by up to 15 years’ incarceration and a third-degree felony by up to five years. The maximum fine for burglary also varies depending upon the degree of felony as which the crime is classified.

Retain a Burglary Defense Lawyer in Clearwater or St. Petersburg to Protect Your Rights

Among the fundamental rights guaranteed to the criminally accused under the U.S. Constitution is the right to the assistance of counsel. An attorney can advise the defendant about their legal rights and explain the process that the State will need to go through in order for there to be a conviction. Defense counsel also will be able to protect the defendant’s constitutional rights during trial and, if the defendant’s rights were violated during the investigation, arrest, or pre-trial phases of the case, seek to have illegally obtained evidence excluded at trial. To schedule an appointment with St. Petersburg and Clearwater burglary defense attorney Will Hanlon, call us today at 727-897-5413 or contact us online. He also represents people in cities such as Newport Richey and Dade City, and he can assist defendants who need a gun crime lawyer or representation against charges of drug crimes, sex crimes, domestic violence, and other serious felonies.