After an arrest for burglary in Okaloosa County, it is important to take steps immediately to protect yourself. Law enforcement officers and the State Attorney’s Office will be doing everything in their power to ensure that you are convicted. A conviction for a burglary charge could result in a lengthy prison sentence and a stigma that will follow you the rest of your life.
My name is Tim Flaherty. I have been defending burglary charges in Okaloosa County since 2001. My partner, Brandy Merrifield, has worked with me since 2007. When you are ready to find out what we can do to protect your future, call Flaherty & Merrifield at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation. We are ready to put our experience to work for you.
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.
There are 3 types of burglary charges in Okaloosa County:
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.”
Burglary of an unoccupied structure is a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. If the structure was occupied, it enhances the charge to a second degree felony with a maximum sentence of fifteen 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 and you could be sentenced to up to fifteen years in the Department of Corrections. Burglary of a dwelling also carries 56 sentencing points, scoring out to a minimum of 21 months in prison, if 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 a conveyance is a third degree felony and is punishable by up to five years incarceration. If the conveyance was occupied, the charge is enhanced to a second degree felony, punishable by up to fifteen years in prison.
If an assault or battery was made during a burglary to any structure, dwelling or conveyance, or a weapon was used, you could be facing an additional charge of Burglary with Battery, which is punishable by up to LIFE in prison.
Burglary: The Elements
To prove the crime of burglary, the prosecutor must prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The first element is that the defendant entered a structure, dwelling, or conveyance which was owned by or possessed lawfully by another person.
- The second element of a burglary in Florida is the wrongful entry. 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.
- The most critical element of proving the charge of burglary in Okaloosa County is that at the time of the entering, the person had the intent to commit an offense inside. This is the element that distinguishes a burglary charge from a simple trespass.
What can an attorney do for me if I am charged with Burglary in Okaloosa County?
At Flaherty & Merrifield, we limit our practice exclusively to criminal defense. We know how to build defenses based on the facts and circumstances of our client’s case. The following is an overview of areas we will explore:
- Can we attack any of the information contained in the police reports, bodycam evidence, witness statements, etc?
- Can we argue that you were invited to be on the property? If so, it’s not Burglary.
- Can the State prove that you had the intent to commit a crime when you entered the property? If not, the more appropriate charge is Trespass.
- Is it possible to negotiate a plea bargain that reduces the case to a misdemeanor?
- Is it possible to resolve the case with a referral to Pretrial Diversion? If so, your case could be dismissed.
- We will prepare the case for trial in case negotiations break down.
- We will explain all of your options to you in detail, and let you decide. After all, you are the client and it is your case.
Contact an Okaloosa County Burglary Attorney
The stakes are high when you are accused of burglary. This is not the type of charge to leave in the hands of an inexperienced general practice attorney. You need attorneys who have devoted their entire career to defending clients accused of serious crimes.
We defend our clients the way we would want to be defended if we were in your shoes. Call Flaherty & Merrifield at (850) 243-6097 and get the help you need.
To learn more about theft accusations we defend, click here.