Flaherty Defense Firm, Fort Walton Beach Criminal Lawyer
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Fort Walton Beach Burglary of a Structure Lawyer

If you have already read our other pages about burglary in Fort Walton Beach, you may have seen mention of the fact that Burglary of a Structure is the least serious burglary charge under Florida law. While that is true, hopefully you understand that it is still a felony offense that could potentially land you in prison with a felony conviction on your record.

As I said on the other burglary pages, if the police call you, come by your work, or knock on your door and want to question you about your involvement in a burglary, the best advice I can give you is to politely tell them that you have nothing to say to them without a Fort Walton Beach burglary lawyer present. Police officers will use different tactics to try and get you to talk to them. They will act like they are your friend. They will tell you they just want “your side of the story.” Don’t fall for this nonsense. They are contacting you because they think you are guilty, and they want to put you in prison. If you talk to them and incriminate yourself, you are doing their job for them.

If you have been contacted by the police about possible involvement in a Burglary of a Structure in Fort Walton Beach, call me immediately at (850) 243-6097. I will do the following two things for you right away:

(1) I will call the law enforcement officer who is hassling you and tell them that you are represented by a lawyer and you won’t be speaking to them without me being present. That should shut them up and get them to leave you alone.
(2) I will also give you a laminated card that you can keep in your wallet. On the front of the card, it has my contact information and our 24 hour number. On the back is a printed message advising the police that you are asserting your rights under the constitution. Give them that card and tell them to call me.

Burglary of a Structure under Florida Law

Florida Statute 810.02 provides the definition of Burglary of a Structure:

“entering into a structure 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, OR notwithstanding a licensed or invited entry, remaining in a structure with the intent to commit an offense therein after permission to remain has been withdrawn.”

Florida Statute 819.011 defines a structure as:

“a building of any kind, temporary or permanent, which has a roof over it, together with the curtilage thereof.”

The most common structures involved in Burglary to a Structure cases that we see in Fort Walton Beach are detached garages, yard buildings or sheds, and commercial buildings.

Penalties for Burglary of a Structure in Fort Walton Beach

There are two levels of Burglary of a Structure:

(1) Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure: This charge is a third degree felony with a maximum term of incarceration of 5 years.
(2) Burglary of an Occupied Structure: This is a second degree felony punishable by a maximum term of 15 years in prison.

Defending you against a Burglary of a Structure charge in Fort Walton Beach

Burglary of a Structure cases can often be reduced to a misdemeanor offense if your attorney knows what they are doing. There is a very fine line between Burglary and Trespass (a misdemeanor). The only difference is whether you had the intent to commit a crime when you entered the structure. If you had the intent, Burglary is the appropriate charge. If not, we can make a strong argument to the prosecutor that the correct charge should be Trespass.

Because Burglary of a Structure falls on the lower end of the spectrum of burglary cases, sometimes the prosecutors are more willing to consider Pretrial Diversion as an option. This option will result in a dismissal of your case if you comply with the requirements.

We have the experience to know how to develop a defense strategy that fits the unique circumstances of your case and that gives you the best possible chance of a favorable outcome. Our goals will be to avoid a prison sentence and to avoid a felony conviction on your record.

If you have been charged with Burglary of a Structure, call Fort Walton Beach burglary lawyer Tim Flaherty of Flaherty Defense Firm at (850) 243-6097.

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