Burglary of a Structure

Knowledgeable Theft Attorney Representing Tampa Bay Residents

Burglary of a structure is a very serious charge. It involves entering or staying in a structure while intending to commit a crime there, except when the property is open to the public or a defendant has a license or invitation to go inside or stay. A structure can include any sort of building that has a roof on it, and you can be considered to have committed burglary even if you entered onto only what is known as the curtilage of it. At Hanlon Law, Tampa burglary defense lawyer Will Hanlon understands what freedom means to his clients, and he works hard to develop a strong defense on their behalf.

Burglary of a Structure

Under Florida Statute section 810.02, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you entered or stayed in a structure with the intent to commit an offense inside it. If you were licensed or invited to go into the structure, you can be charged with burglary of a structure if you stayed there while surreptitiously intending to commit a crime, after permission was withdrawn with the intent to commit a crime, or in order to perpetrate or try to perpetrate a forcible felony.

Burglary of a structure is a felony in the first degree, which carries harsh consequences, if while committing the burglary, you assaulted or perpetrated battery against someone, were armed or got armed with a dangerous weapon or explosives, or went into a structure and used a motor vehicle to help in committing the offense and in so doing damaged the structure or actually caused damage to the structure that was worth more than $1,000. You can be penalized with life imprisonment for a first-degree felony.

Second-degree burglary of a structure exists if you did not actually assault someone or perpetrate battery, nor were you armed, but you went in the structure, and there was somebody else inside there when you entered or remained. It can also be charged if the offense that you were trying to commit inside the structure was stealing a controlled substance. Separate judgments and sentences can be imposed for a theft of drugs and a burglary with intent to commit a theft of controlled substances. Separate judgments and sentences may also be imposed for trafficking in these substances. You can be sentenced to up to 15 years’ imprisonment, 15 years’ probation, and a $10,000 fine for a second-degree burglary conviction.

A third-degree felony can be charged for burglary of a structure if you did not commit assault or battery or become armed with a dangerous weapon, and you went into or stayed in a structure without anybody else being present. You may be sentenced to up to five years’ imprisonment or five years’ probation, as well as up to a $5,000 fine, for a third-degree felony burglary.

There may be defenses applicable to a charge of burglary. You should never try to negotiate a deal yourself or enter a plea without the help of an attorney. Common defenses that may apply include consent, invitation, lack of proof of intent, lack of proof of identity, mistaken identity, implied invitation, mistake of fact, or an inadequate withdrawal of consent or invitation to be inside the structure. For example, if you went into a structure to retrieve something that you left behind, there was no burglary because there was no intent to commit a crime. However, you may be charged with trespassing.

Retain a Tampa Lawyer to Fight a Burglary Charge

If you are accused of a theft-related crime, you must take the accusation or charge very seriously. You should not wait until you are formally charged to seek out a theft attorney, and you should not wait until just before trial or try to strike a deal with the prosecutor yourself. It is crucial to the outcome of your case to have an experienced Tampa attorney advocating on your behalf as early as possible. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has provided a strong, aggressive defense to people accused of crimes such as burglary since 1994. He strives to provide responsive and personalized representation. Call Hanlon Law at 813-228-7095 or use our online form to set up your appointment.