Burglary of a Dwelling, Structure, or Conveyance

In Florida, burglary means entering or remaining in someone’s property (dwelling, structure or conveyance) with the intent to commit another offense within that property. Dwelling is defined as a building of any kind, which has a roof over it and is designed to be occupied by people lodging within, at night. The definition of dwelling also includes the curtilage or area surrounding the home. Structure means a building of any kind which has a roof over it, and also includes the curtilage or area immediately surrounding the structure. A conveyance is any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, trailer, aircraft, or railroad car.

The classic burglary of a dwelling or breaking and entering occurs when a person enters another person’s house or dwelling without their permission to steal something from inside the home. Burglary can also occur if a person has permission to enter a dwelling, structure or conveyance and then hides inside with the intent to commit an offense within, usually after everyone else leaves. Under this scenario, a person who legally enters an open business, for example, and then hides in the store until it closes and steals something, would be charged with burglary of a structure.

Porch Pirates Beware

What if the door was open and nothing was broken? It doesn’t matter, you can still be charged with burglary. In fact, just the act of going onto someone’s porch and stealing a recently delivered package that is just sitting on the stoop is sufficient to be charged with burglary of a dwelling. Why? Because the definition of dwelling includes the non-enclosed curtilage or surrounding area of the home. Entering a screen cage or open garage and stealing something can also constitute a burglary in Sarasota, Florida. Burglary of a dwelling also occurs when a person enters an abandoned home and intentionally breaks something inside the home, even when no theft occurred. The burglary is complete because the person entered a dwelling without permission (trespass) and committed a criminal offense (criminal mischief) within the home.

Burglary is a Felony That Carries Stiff Prison Sentences

In Florida, a burglary of a dwelling is a second degree felony that can result in up to fifteen years of prison and a $10,000 fine. Under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code, a burglary of a dwelling is a level 7 offense that scores a minimum prison sentence of 21.75 months even if it is your first criminal offense. Burglary of a structure or conveyance is a third degree felony punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Don’t take chances, if you have been charged with burglary of a dwelling, structure, or conveyance you need to hire a criminal defense lawyer.

Burglary with an Assault or Battery is Punishable by Life in Prison

If a person commits an assault or battery, becomes armed within the dwelling, structure or conveyance, or uses a motor vehicle, other than merely as a getaway vehicle, during the commission of a burglary, then the burglary is a first degree felony punishable by up to life in prison. For example, if two drivers have a road rage incident and one driver gets out of his car and punches the other driver through his open window at a stop light, then the state can charge that person with burglary of a conveyance with an assault or battery, a first degree felony punishable by life in prison. In this scenario, the guy who got out of his car entered the conveyance of another without permission, with the specific intent to commit a misdemeanor battery within the car, when he punched the other driver through the window.

Importance of Hiring an Experienced Sarasota Burglary Attorney

Burglary of a dwelling lawyer Anthony G. Ryan will personally examine the facts of your case and begin to evaluate your potential defenses like consent, mistaken identity, alibi or mistake of fact. Mr. Ryan will discuss the pros and cons of taking your case to trial and work hard to minimize the consequences if you decide that fighting it isn’t in your best interest. He will also outline your potential exposure by figuring out how much you score under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code. If you are the subject of a burglary investigation and have not yet been arrested, Mr. Ryan will discuss whether or not to speak to law enforcement or assert your 5th Amendment right to remain silent. Call him now to discuss your case or better yet, come in for a free consultation.

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