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Burglary is a serious type of theft crime. Generally, what distinguishes burglary from other theft crimes (such as petit theft or robbery) is the location in which the alleged crime was committed – in particular, a dwelling. Since there may be serious penalties resulting from a burglary conviction under Florida law, it is important to talk to a theft crime attorney who can help you defend yourself to the fullest extent of the law. Tampa burglary defense lawyer Will Hanlon has been defending people accused of burglary and other theft crimes for over 20 years. At Hanlon Law, we understand how the system works, and we always work hard to achieve dismissals, acquittals, or favorable plea bargains.

As with any criminal offense, the burden of proof is on the State of Florida to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a burglary case. Florida Statutes § 810.02 defines the crime of burglary as entering a dwelling, structure, or conveyance with the intent to commit an offense in it. A person who has permission to enter the premises or who enters premises that are open to the public is not guilty of burglary in most cases. However, there may also be a conviction if the State is able to prove that:

  • The defendant entered the premises surreptitiously and intended to commit a crime;
  • The defendant remained on the premises after they no longer had permission to remain there and intended to commit a crime on the premises; or
  • The defendant either committed or attempted to commit a forcible felony. (For the purposes of the statute, “forcible felonies” include murder, manslaughter, sexual battery, robbery, arson, kidnapping, and aggravated assault, as well as similar crimes.)

Burglary is a serious crime in Florida, so it is important to consult a burglary defense attorney in the Tampa area without delay if you are facing charges. As a second-degree felony, the offense of burglary is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and other penalties like restitution. Importantly, in some situations, a burglary conviction may be counted in determining whether a defendant is to be punished as a three-time violent felony offender. Harsh mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment are possible for people convicted under the “three-time” rule, so it is important to explore every possible defense if you have been arrested for burglary.

A conviction may not occur without adequate admissible evidence proffered by the State. In some cases, a defendant may be able to convince the trial court to disallow certain evidence as being “fruit of the poisonous tree” if the evidence was obtained due to a violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights. This happens if a confession was given by a defendant who was not properly advised of “Miranda rights” like their right to remain silent, as well as when overzealous officers conduct an illegal search or seizure that infringes upon a defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights. However, courts do not typically exclude evidence offered by the prosecution unless the defendant’s counsel files an appropriate motion requesting that the evidence in question be disallowed at trial. This is why it is important to consult an attorney who is familiar with all of the procedural rules in the criminal justice system.


If you are facing charges, or if you believe that you may be under investigation, you should not make the mistake of trying to “talk your way out” of a criminal prosecution. The most important step to take is to consult an attorney who can fight for your rights from the start to the finish of the proceedings. To schedule a consultation to discuss your case with a knowledgeable Tampa burglary defense attorney, call Hanlon Law today at 813-228-7095 or contact us online. Will Hanlon also can assist people throughout the Tampa Bay area who need a shoplifting attorney or a defense against a wide range of other theft charges.