The Miami criminal defense law firm of DMT has represented dozens of clients in state court charged with all forms of burglary. In general, a defendant will be charged with the offense of burglary if the prosecution can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he or she entered a dwelling, structure or conveyance owned another person with the intent to commit a crime while inside the dwelling, structure or conveyance. The criminal defense lawyers at DMT have defended every type of burglary charge imaginable including burglary to a dwelling, burglary to a structure, burglary to a conveyance and possession of burglary tools. The laws in the State of Florida also delineate other categories of burglaries such as an armed burglary or burglary with an assault or battery.
Burglary to a dwelling involves buildings of any kind which has a roof over it and is designed to be occupied by people for lodging purposes. A dwelling is also defined to include porches and garages. The current laws also include curtilages for the purposes of charging someone with a dwelling burglary. Simply put, a curtilage is the property is that is adjacent to a home if it is surrounded by a fence or hedge. If a defendant merely enters a yard by negotiating a fence or hedge and removes property from the yard, the offense of burglary to a dwelling will be charged despite the lack of actual entry into the physical residence. Burglary to a dwelling is a second degree felony punishable up to 15 years in prison. It is important to know that the Florida Criminal Punishment Code Offense Severity Ranking Chart labels dwelling burglaries a level seven offense. The bottom of the sentencing guideline range is 21 months in state prison. Despite the severity of the offense, the Miami criminal attorneys at DMT have been successful in obtaining pre-trial intervention or probation for first time offenders.
Less severe than dwelling burglaries are the crimes of burglary to a conveyance and burglary to a structure. While they are both felony charges, the offenses are only third degree felonies punishable up to 5 years in state prison. However, under the Florida Punishment Code, the offenses do not call for state prison. A conveyance is defined as any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad car, trailer or aircraft. A structure is defined as any building of any kind, either permanent or temporary, that has a roof over it, excluding dwelling. Curtilages also applys to burglaries of a structure. Possession of burglary tools is an offense that is very often charged along with burglary. To prove possession of burglary tools, the prosecution must show that a defendant intended to commit a burglary and had in his possession tools, machines or implements intended to be used to effectuate the burglary. The offense itself is a third degree felony punishable up to five years in prison.
There are certain aggravating factors that can be used to enhance a person's sentence who is convicted or enters a guilty plea to a burglary offense. If a defendant commits a burglary while armed, the offense immediately becomes a first degree felony punishable up to life in prison. Due to the serious nature of the offense, the defendant will most likely not receive a bond at the bond hearing; however, special hearings called "Arthur Hearings" are litigated for the purpose of securing a bond for the defendant. If a firearm was used during the commission of a burglary, the applicable 10/20/Life laws also apply in terms of sentencing. Another non-bondable burglary offense is a burglary with an assault or battery. To prove these offenses, the prosecutor must show that the defendant committed an assault and/or battery during the course of a burglary.
If you are under investigation for, or have been arrested and charged with a burglary offense, contact the Miami criminal lawyers at DMT. An experienced criminal attorney is available every day of the year, 24 hours a day to speak with you regarding your situation. Allow us the opportunity to help protect your rights and defend you case and you will not be disappointed. You can call our office at (305) 444-0030 or reach us by completing the form on our contact page or by sending an e-mail.