Burglary On Ice: A Chilling Overview
When most people think of the crime burglary, the first thing that comes to their mind is a picture of an individual, dressed in all black, attempting to break into someone’s house in the middle of the night by picking the lock on the back door. And for some, most recently, the face of Robert Matthew Van Winkle (aka “Vanilla Ice”), a famous reality television star and former ‘90s rapper, comes to mind.
Under Florida law, an individual cannot be charged with burglary if the property was open to the public. A burglary is committed when an individual, without permission, enters a dwelling, structure or conveyance (automobile), with the intent to commit a criminal offense, no matter what time of day it is.
The Basic Elements of Burglary in Florida
There are three main elements to a charge of burglary. The first element is the unauthorized breaking and entering. The second element requires the breaking and entering to occur in or at a dwelling, structure or conveyance. Finally, the individual committing the burglary, at the time of the offense, must have the intent to commit a criminal offense inside the dwelling, structure or conveyance. It is important to remember that the prosecution is required to prove all three elements beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution fails to prove any single element, then their entire case will fall apart.
If you are facing criminal charges related to burglary, you should contact a criminal defense attorney with extensive experience in this area of the law who will be able to assist you in fighting these charges.
The Penalties of Being Charged with Burglary.
Under Florida law, burglary is a felony, and depending on the circumstances, can be punishable by fines well over $5,000 and lead to over 30 years imprisonment.
Possible Defenses to Burglary
There are certain defenses against burglary. The first defense requires convincing the court or jury that the individual did not commit the acts in question. The purpose of this defense is to create doubt in the minds of the jury or court, which effectively weakens the prosecution’s case.
The second category includes affirmative defenses and, when set forth successfully, negate or defeat the legal consequences of the defendant’s behavior.
Affirmative defenses include:
- Admitting the defendant engaged in certain behavior but that behavior did not amount to a crime;
- Proving that the owner of the property gave the defendant consent to enter the property; or
- Demonstrating that someone convinced the defendant to commit the crime when they otherwise would not.
It is important to note that these defenses are not available in every burglary case.
The Next Step
As you can see, burglary cases are complex in nature and carry life-changing consequences. It is in your best interests to hire experienced South Florida criminal defense attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. who can help you effectively challenge the prosecution’s case and significantly reduce the possibility of being convicted. Reach out to our office today for a consultation.