The Elements of Burglary
Burglary is defined as unlawful entry into a structure with the intent to commit a crime inside. It is important to note that the crime intended to be committed inside does not have to be theft; it can be any felony or misdemeanor.
The main elements that the prosecution must prove for a burglary charge in Florida are:
- Unlawful Entry: The defendant must have entered a structure, such as a building, dwelling, vehicle, or even a ship or aircraft, without permission or legal authority.
- Intent to Commit a Crime: The prosecution needs to demonstrate that at the time of entry, the defendant had the intent to commit a crime inside the structure.
- Actual Entry: It is not sufficient to intend to commit a crime without physically entering the structure. There must be evidence of actual entry or penetration into the premises.
It’s important to recognize that in the case of burglary, the crime revolves around the act of unauthorized entry and the intent to commit a crime while inside the structure. The actual commission of the intended crime is not a requirement for a burglary charge.
The Elements of Robbery
On the other hand, robbery is a crime that involves the use of force, threat, or intimidation to take property from another person against their will.
The elements that the prosecution must establish for a robbery charge in Florida are:
- Taking and Carrying Away Property: The defendant must have taken or attempted to take money, personal belongings, or other valuables from the victim.
- From the Person or Presence of the Victim: The property must be taken directly from the victim’s person, immediate presence, or control. For instance, snatching a purse from someone’s hands would qualify as robbery.
- Use of Force, Threats, or Intimidation: The act of taking the property must involve the use of force, the threat of force, or actions that instill fear or intimidation in the victim.
Unlike burglary, robbery directly involves the victim and requires a confrontational element, making it a more serious offense.
Understanding the Burglary & Robbery Penalties in Florida
In Florida, both burglary and robbery are classified as felonies, carrying severe penalties upon conviction. However, the severity of the penalties varies depending on the circumstances and degrees of the offenses.
When a person enters an unoccupied structure, such as a commercial building, or an unoccupied conveyance, like a car or boat, the offense is considered a third-degree felony. Penalties may include up to five years in prison, probation, fines, and restitution.
If the defendant commits burglary in a dwelling, an occupied structure, or an occupied conveyance, it becomes a second-degree felony. A conviction can result in up to 15 years in prison, probation, fines, and restitution.
Robbery is also classified as a second-degree felony. However, robbery involving a firearm is punishable by life imprisonment, while robbery involving a deadly weapon, as well as home invasion, carries a maximum prison sentence of 30 years.
Let Our Firm Protect Your Rights & Future
Burglary and robbery charges in Florida carry severe consequences, making it crucial to understand the differences between these offenses. By grasping the nuances of burglary vs. robbery, you can better navigate the legal system and build a strong defense strategy.
At Hager & Schwartz, P.A., we specialize in defending individuals facing criminal charges, including burglary and robbery cases. Our experienced attorneys are here to provide you with the guidance and support you need to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how our firm can help you in your time of need.