From breaking into a car to steal an i-Pad to illegally entering a building with the intent to take something, those few minutes may lead to long-lasting burglary charges.
In 2021, the state had more than 44,207 burglary arrests, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. If you face these charges as a first-time offender, you likely have many questions.
1. How does the state define burglary?
Florida considers burglary the act of illegally entering a property for a criminal purpose. This not only applies to occupied buildings and homes but also transportation vehicles, including automobiles and watercraft, and any covered dwelling.
2. What penalties might I face?
Any arrest for burglary results in an automatic felony charge. The degree of the penalties will depend on other factors associated with the crime. The lowest charge of a third-degree felony, which means no person was in the structure or conveyance at the time, still comes with steep consequences that include a potential five-year sentence and a $5,000 fine. If armed or an assault happened during the incident, it becomes a first-degree felony that may mean a life sentence.
3. What happens if I am convicted of a felony?
Any felony conviction in Florida comes with a lifelong loss of some rights. While Florida may allow for the reinstatement of the right to possess arms after five to seven years and completion of court-imposed terms, the U.S. government forbids any felon to regain the right to legally buy and carry a firearm. Depending on your situation, a conviction may result in significant changes to your career. The state does not allow felons to hold public office or obtain certain professional licenses.
Even though you face burglary charges, you still have defense options.