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Burglary

Florida Statute § 810.02 provides for harsh penalties and punishments for the criminal offense of burglary. The elements of the crime of burglary include entering a structure, dwelling, or conveyance owned by another person without the owner’s permission with the intent to commit a crime inside that place. Prosecutors in Leon County take this offense seriously. This crime can lead to a felony conviction, even if the burglary itself was seemingly minor.

Tallahassee Burglary Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with burglary in Tallahassee or Leon County, Florida, then contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Pumphrey Law. Our attorneys represent clients in Leon County and the surrounding areas of Monticello in Jefferson County, Quincy in Gadsden County, Crawfordville in Wakulla County or Bristol in Liberty County, Florida.

A conviction for burglary can have serious and unfortunate consequences, even beyond jail time and fines. With the widespread use of background checks, it can close many opportunities, long after the sentence has been completed. Call (850) 681-7777 or send an online message to learn more about how our attorneys can defend your future.


Florida Burglary Information Center


Burglary under Florida Statute § 810.02

Burglary is defined under Florida Statute § 810.02 as entering or remaining in a structure, dwelling, or conveyance with the intent to commit a criminal offense inside. However, this does not include instances where the premises were open to the public at the time of the alleged offense, if the defendant is licensed to enter or remain, or if the defendant was invited inside. If permission to remain was withdrawn and the defendant allegedly remained to commit an offense, he or she may be guilty of burglary.

Additionally, entering or remaining to attempt to commit a forcible felony can be defined as burglary under this statute. Forcible felony includes murder, manslaughter, sexual battery, carjacking, home-invasion robbery, robbery, burglary, arson, aggravated assault, and any other felony involving the threat or use of violence or physical force against an individual (as defined in Florida Statute § 776.08).

Burglary is a 1st-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in Florida state prison and up to $10,000 in fines if the offender:

  • Commits assault or battery on a person; or
  • Is or becomes armed within the dwelling, structure, or conveyance with explosives or a dangerous weapon; or
  • Enters an unoccupied dwelling or structure, and:
    • Uses the vehicle to assist in committing the offense, damaging the dwelling or structure (not as just a getaway vehicle); or
    • Causes more than $1,000 in damages to the dwelling, structure or property.

This crime is a 2nd-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in Florida state prison and up to $10,000 in fines if the offender:

  • In the course of committing the offense does not commit assault or battery and is not armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive; and
  • Enters or remains in an unoccupied dwelling; or
  • Enters or remains in an occupied dwelling; or
  • Enters or remains in a structure that is occupied at the time of the offense; or
  • Enters or remains in an occupied conveyance; or
  • Enters or remains in an authorized emergency vehicle; or
  • Enters a structure or conveyance with the intent to commit theft of a controlled substance.

Burglary is a 3rd-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and fines up to $5,000 if the offender:

  • Does not commit assault or battery and is not armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive; and
  • Remains in or enters an unoccupied structure; or
  • Remains in or enters an unoccupied conveyance.

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Defense to Burglary under Florida Law

The primary defense used in burglary cases under Florida law involves the person accused of burglary showing that he had an invitation or license to enter or that the premises was open to the public. See State v. Hicks, 421 So. 2d 510 (Fla. 1982), and State v. Waters, 436 So. 2d 66 (Fla. 1983).

In cases in which this defense is raised, the prosecution must also prove the additional element that the defendant was not licensed or invited to enter the location or that the premises were not open to the public at the time of the entering. If the defendant obtained permission to enter through deceit, this defense becomes invalid.

Furthermore, if the defendant entered premises that were open to the public, but then entered an area of the premises that the defendant knew was not open to the public with the intent to commit a crime, then the defendant committed burglary.


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Florida Burglary Inferences to Prove the “Intent to Commit the Crime”

Florida law also provides for certain inferences that essentially work like shortcuts for the prosecution. For example, Florida Statute § 810.07 provides that “you may infer that the defendant had the intent to commit a crime inside a structure, dwelling or conveyance if the entering or attempted entering was done without the consent of the owner or occupant on stealthily.”

The entry does not necessarily have to include the whole body of the defendant. It is sufficient if the defendant, with the intent to commit a crime, extends any part of his body into the structure, dwelling or conveyance.


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Burglary by Remaining with the Intent to Commit a Crime

If the prosecutor has charged the crime of burglary by remaining with the intent to commit an offense, then the prosecutor must prove the following elements of the crime:

  1. The defendant had consent or permission to enter a structure, dwelling or conveyance owned by or in the possession of another person.
  2. After entering the structure, dwelling or conveyance, the defendant remained therein while:
    • surreptitiously and with the intent to commit the crime alleged inside the structure, dwelling or conveyance;
    • after permission to remain had been withdrawn and with the intent to commit the crime alleged inside the structure, dwelling, conveyance;
    • with the intent to commit or attempt to commit a forcible felony inside the structure, dwelling or conveyance.

Florida law provides a list of forcible felonies as listed in Florida Statute § 776.08. Burglary can also accompany a charge of assault or battery. The prosecutor can also allege that the defendant committed the burglary while armed with a dangerous weapon or explosives.


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Offenses Related to Burglary

  • Possession of Burglary Tools under Florida Statute § 810.06
  • Impeding or Impairing Power or Telephone to a Dwelling to Further or Facilitate a Burglary under Florida Statute § 810.061
  • Aggravated battery under Florida Statute § 784.045
  • Battery under Florida Statute § 784.03
  • Aggravated assault under Florida Statute § 784.021
  • Assault under Florida Statute § 784.011
  • Trespass of a Structure or Conveyance under Florida Statute §§ 810.08(2)(a), 810.08(2)(b) or 810.08 (2)(c)
  • Criminal Mischief under Florida Statute § 806.13

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Pumphrey Law | Burglary Defense Lawyers in Tallahassee

The law enforcement investigators and prosecutors will be using every detail and word you say to build a case against you. If you have been charged with the very serious offense of burglary, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Pumphrey Law in Tallahassee, Leon County, FL. It’s best to contact a defense lawyer as soon after the initial arrest as possible. This allows your attorney to gather time-sensitive evidence and testimony to use in your defense. The more time you wait, the more time you give the prosecution to create a case against you.


Article last updated August 5, 2016.