Burglary is a serious property crime that is classified as a Felony under State law. The Court can impose significant jail time and penalties when a Defendant receives a conviction for breaking and entering.

When you are facing Ft. Lauderdale burglary charges or an investigation, a knowledgeable Attorney at Leifert & Leifert can help protect your legal rights and fight on your behalf.

Burglary Charges Focus On Intent of Defendant

Although burglary is most often associated with breaking into a Ft. Lauderdale home, State law has a more expansive definition of the crime and grounds for charges.

Burglary is defined under State law as unlawfully and impermissibly entering into a dwelling, conveyance or structure and intending to commit a crime, according to Fla. Stat. § 810.02. If you had authorization for entry, you could still get charged with burglary for secretly remaining on the property with the intent to commit a crime, committing a forcible Felony while on the premises, or remaining on the premises after the invitation was withdrawn with the intent to commit a crime.

Burglary is classified as a Felony under State law, but the degree of the crime charged will depend on factors such as what other crimes the Defendant committed during the breaking and entering and the type of property.

According to Fla. Stat. § 810.011, a structure is defined as any type of building with a roof. Dwellings are buildings or conveyances with a roof designed for sleep at night. A conveyance is any type of motor vehicle, such as a car, shipping vessel, trailer, or aircraft.

Penalties Depend on the Degree of Burglary Charged

Leifert & Leifert can help you understand the maximum penalty in Ft. Lauderdale for burglary, depending on the degree of the criminal charges. First-degree burglaries occur when a Defendant commits assault and battery, is armed, enters a dwelling or structure by damaging it with a motor vehicle, or otherwise causes damage to the structure or dwelling that exceeds $1,000. First-degree burglary is punishable by up to life in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.

Second-degree burglary encompasses a range of offenses where an unarmed Defendant illegally entered the premises without committing assault and battery. For example, the burglary is a second-degree Felony if the Defendant entered a conveyance or structure when another person is on the property. For dwellings, the crime is considered second-degree burglary regardless of whether there is another person in the dwelling.

Illegally entering an authorized emergency vehicle without permission is also a second-degree Felony. The maximum term for second-degree burglary is 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Burglary is considered a third-degree Felony when a person commits the offense within a structure or conveyance and there is no other person on the premises. A third-degree Felony can carry a maximum five-year prison sentence and a fine up to $5,000.

Many Burglary Cases Focus on the Defendant’s Intent

Ft. Lauderdale burglary cases typically hinge on the Prosecutor’s ability to prove that the person entered the premises intending to commit a crime. Establishing intent will depend on the facts of the case, but certain factors can provide immediate proof of intent.

Fla. Stat. § 810.07 provides that if the Prosecutor can prove the Defendant entered a structure or conveyance without permission using stealth, then that serves as evidence of their intent to commit a crime upon entering the property.

Even if the Defendant does not intend to commit a crime, the Prosecutor could still pursue charges against a person for misdemeanor or Felony criminal trespass under Fla. Stat. § 810.08. Additionally, the Prosecutor can pursue third-degree Felony charges for possessing tools with the intention of using them in a burglary, according to Fla. Stat. § 810.06.

Contact a Ft. Lauderdale Attorney Today When Facing Burglary Charges

You should reach out to a Leifert & Leifert Attorney immediately for an initial consultation and case review if you are facing Ft. Lauderdale burglary charges. Obtaining counsel is critical to fully protect your legal rights and protect you against self-incrimination.

The criminal justice system is complex, and a skilled Attorney is ready to fight on your behalf and get the best possible outcome for you.

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