When facing criminal charges in the state of Florida, the penalties associated with a conviction can be significant. If convicted on a burglary charge, for example, the associated consequences include years behind bars and hefty fines. Such penalties can have a number of adverse effects on your life now and in the future.

Most people believe that once prosecutors charge them with a criminal offense, a conviction is sure to follow. This simply is not true. A charge is the result of an accusation. In order for prosecuting attorneys to achieve the outcome they are looking for, they have to prove, without a doubt that you did what you stand accused of. This is not always easy for them to do.

Burglary is…

Before digging into the consequences associated with a burglary charge, let’s go over what burglary actually is. Florida law categorizes this crime as a property crime. It involves one entering or remaining on another person’s property without authorization to engage in illegal activity. Many people confuse burglary with theft. Burglary does not necessarily involve the taking of another’s property — it involves damaging property.

Types of burglary charges

There are three levels of burglary charges recognized in the state of Florida. They are all felonies, simply called first, second and third-degree felonies. The differences between the three are as follows:

  • First degree: This is the most severe. Possible penalties if convicted include up to life behind bars and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Second degree: This is a mid-level charge. Potential penalties include up to 15 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
  • Third degree: This is the least severe. Possible penalties include a maximum of five years behind bars and a fine of up to $5,000.

Several factors are looked at when determining which type of charge applies to your case. Legal counsel can expand on this topic.

Defend yourself

If you find yourself charged with burglary, you have the right to defend yourself — as does anyone who is facing criminal charges. The key is figuring out the best way to do that. A few defense strategies may work in your case including a lack of intent, authorization received to be on the property and the property was open to the public. With assistance, you can figure out the best way to approach your case.