Miami Burglary Attorney
What constitutes trespassing?
One of the most common felony charges in the state of Florida is burglary, which can take place in several different forms. Florida statute §810.02 states that burglary can be defined as "entering a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the defendant is licensed or invited to enter." When referring to a dwelling in a burglary case, it means an inhabited residence, while a conveyance refers to a car and/or motor vehicle, and a structure refers to things like an office building and/or publicly owned property. If the intent to commit a crime cannot be established, misdemeanor trespassing charges are usually filed.
- Burglary of a Structure/Conveyance is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in a Florida state prison. A structure or conveyance is any enclosed structure such as an office, car, warehouse, school, etc. In other words, for purposes of this offense, it can be anything that is not considered a dwelling—an inhabited residence.
- Burglary of a Dwelling is a second degree felony punishable by up to fifteen years in a Florida state prison. Usually, but not always, this offense also carries additional charges of theft/grand theft—as this is typically the "crime within"—and criminal mischief, as there is often some damage done to another's property in the process of breaking and entering.
- Burglary with an Assault/Battery /Armed Burglary are both felonies of the first degree punishable by up to thirty years in a Florida state prison. The latter charge carries a minimum mandatory prison sentence of 10-20 years. If the "crime within" is an assault (threat of imminent harm) or a battery (unconsented touching), a burglary with assault/battery can be charged.
Not a Theft Charge
The crime of burglary/trespassing is different than a theft charge because there is a difference of intent. Theft is said to have the intent of depriving an owner of their property while burglary always involves entering the residence of someone else without permission with the intent of committing a crime. Theft does not have to take place at a residence, but can take place in a public area.
What if I never actually entered the home?
The offense of burglary of a dwelling can, and usually will be, waged even if a person never enters a person's actual home. Burglary of a dwelling can also consist of jumping into an enclosed piece of property, called "curtilage" without the consent of the owner with the intent to commit a crime within (i.e. theft). It is likely, however, that if found on another person's property without consent, that you will face a trespassing offense—as intent to commit a crime must be proven in a burglary offense. The intricacies of burglary charges necessitate professional legal representation.