Burglary Charge in Florida, and I Did Not Steal Anything!

Our criminal defense attorneys often assist individuals arrested on burglary charges. Many of these clients come to us wondering how they can be arrested for the crime of burglary when they have in fact not broken into someone’s home or business and they have not stolen any property.

Most people’s conception of “burglary” can be imagined by the thought of the masked thief breaking in the second story window, snatching valuables from a safe, stuffing them into a bag and vanishing into the night. The cat-burglar and safecracker shape the motif in which burglary is envisioned for most.

In Florida however, there are a multitude of different episodes which measure up to the crime of burglary.

What Defines a Burglary Charge?

State statutes vary in their definitions. Florida defines the crime basically as unlawfully entering or remaining inside a residence, business, building or vehicle – with the intent to commit a crime therein.

Here is where most people are unfamiliar with the realities of a burglary charge:

  • The intended crime in a burglary offense is not limited to theft. The predetermined offense could be anything from stealing something, to vandalism, computer crime, carjacking, kidnapping, to murder or any other criminal act.
  • A person can be charged for burglary even if they did not use forced entry. The concept of “breaking and entering” does apply to the offense of burglary and often is the case – but it is not required. For instance in Florida, burglary can mean that a person entered a home or business through an open door (without permission) in order to carry out a criminal act. Or a person hid inside a place of business and remained there after the business closed its doors to the public, and that person did so for the purpose of committing a criminal offense of some sort.
  • The intended crime does not have to be completed for the requirements of burglary to be met; simply the entry in combination with the intent to commit a crime will satisfy.

What if No Criminal Act Occurred? 

Burglary is a crime that hinges on the element of intent to commit a crime. Yet what if no criminal act actually took place?

In some circumstances, Orlando law enforcement have been able to charge a person for burglary simply on the basis of entering the structure.

For example: the offender unlawfully enters someone’s basement in order to sell prescription drugs, but they are scared off or arrested before any drug crime takes place. That is still considered burglary because the defining moment was when the person entered the structure without permission with the intention of executing a drug deal. Nothing was stolen yet a premeditated crime was attempted in an unlawfully entered structure – and under Florida law that is considered burglary.

Learn more about the penalties associated with burglary charges in Florida and the criminal defenses against burglary that may be raised.

Orlando Defense Attorneys, Ready to Fight for You

Burglary is a highly misunderstood area of criminal law. If you are facing a burglary charge in Florida, contact TK Law for a free consultation without delay. We will protect your rights and work to get the charges pled down or dismissed entirely. Let us know about your case and let us help you.

Phone: 855-Kramer-Now (855-572-6376)

Altamonte Springs Office
999 Douglas Avenue
Suite 3333
Altamonte Springs, FL 32714
Downtown Orlando Office
37 N. Orange Avenue
Suite 500b
Orlando, FL 32801
CALL (407) 834-4847