After an arrest for Burglary in Crestview, the prosecutor will be working closely with the arresting officer to build a case against you that results in a permanent felony conviction on your record. They may even be trying to send you to prison.
My name is Tim Flaherty. Brandy Merrifield is my partner. Criminal law is the only type of law we have ever practiced. Call us at (850) 398-8098 and get the help you need.
Burglary Under Florida Law
Florida Statute 810.02 defines burglary 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.
In Crestview, and throughout the State of Florida, there are 3 levels of Burglary:
Burglary of a Structure
A structure is defined as “a building of any kind, either temporary or permanent, which has a roof over it, together with the surrounding curtilage.”
If the structure in question was occupied by another person, you are facing a second degree felony with a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
If the structure in question was unoccupied, the charge is a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Burglary of a Dwelling
A dwelling is defined as “a building or conveyance of any kind, which has a roof over it and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night, together with the surrounding curtilage.” The simple definition of a dwelling is a “house”.
Burglary of a dwelling is a second degree felony with a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Under the Florida Punishment Code Scoresheet, Burglary of a dwelling scores 56 sentencing points, which calculates out to a minimum of 21 months in prison, if you are convicted.
Burglary of a Conveyance
A conveyance is defined as “any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad vehicle or car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car.”
Burglary of an unoccupied conveyance is a third degree felony with a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison. While this charge does not “score out” to mandatory prison, there is still the possibility that the prosecutor will be pushing for jail time and/or a felony conviction on your record.
If there was someone in the conveyance, the charge will be burglary of an occupied conveyance, with a potential 15 year prison sentence.
If you are accused of committing a Battery during the commission of the burglary, the State could file an additional charge of Burglary with Battery. This charge carries a potential LIFE sentence, if you are convicted.
What is the difference between Burglary and Trespass?
The prosecutor has to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict you of Burglary:
- The defendant entered a structure, dwelling, or conveyance which was owned by or possessed lawfully by another person.
- The defendant’s entry onto the property was unlawful or wrongful. If someone is invited to visit the property, at a party for example, the element of unlawful entry is not met. This is called invitee status. This status can be revoked at any time however, and if it is revoked and the defendant remains on the property, unlawful entry can be proven.
An invited guest, such as a person invited into your home for a party or social event is not a wrongful entrance. However, if at any time a person is advised that they are no longer welcome then wrongful entry can be established.
- At the time of entering the property in question, the defendant had the intent to commit an offense on the property. This is the difference between Trespass and Burglary in Crestview. If the defendant unlawfully entered someone’s property with no intent to commit a crime, the appropriate charge is misdemeanor Trespass. However, if the defendant entered the property with the intent to steal something, or damage the property, the appropriate charge is Burglary.
How will you defend me if I am charged with Burglary in Crestview?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to defending serious felony cases, so we will need to meet with you and talk about your case before we can customize a defense strategy.
Here is an overview. Some of these may or may not apply to your specific circumstances:
- Review all police reports, witness statements, video evidence, eyewitness testimony to see if any of it can be attacked.
- Explore the issue of whether you were invited to be be on the property. The State has to prove you weren’t invited to the property. If we can show otherwise, it strengthens your case.
- Explore the issue of whether you had the intent to commit a crime when you entered the property. If we can make a good argument on this issue, it could lead to a reduced charge or a dismissal.
- Negotiate with the prosecutor for a plea to a reduced charge with no jail.
- Negotiate with the prosecutor for Pretrial Diversion. This option guarantees a dismissal of your Burglary case in Crestview if you complete it.
- We will ask you to bring me mitigating evidence to help with your defense. Examples include character letters, employment records, medical records, report cards, military awards, etc.
- While we are negotiating with the prosecutor, we will also be preparing for trial from day one.
I hope the information on this page has been helpful. You have some big decisions to make about your future. One thing you can do to make this easier is to meet with a few different attorneys and see who you feel comfortable with. Not all attorneys are the same, so take advantage of the free consultation that most criminal defense lawyers offer.
Contact a Crestview Burglary Attorney
If you or a loved one have been charged with Burglary in Crestview, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 398-8098 for a free consultation.