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Florida Burglary of a Dwelling is defined as the entering of a building or other structure that has a roof over it and is designed to be occupied by people at night.

Penalties for a Burglary of a Dwelling Charge

Florida Burglary of a Dwelling penatlies are classified depending on various factors including whether the building or structure was occupied at the time you entered as well as your conduct once inside.

Generally, Florida Burglary of a Dwelling is classified as a second degree felony unless, during the course of committing the burglary, you:
  1. Make an Assault or Battery upon any person;
  2. Are or become armed with a dangerous weapon;
  3. Cause property damage of more than $1000; or if
  4. A car is used assist in the commission of the crime other than as a getaway vehicle
Under those circumstances, Florida reclassifies Burglary of a Dwelling as a first degree felony and makes it punishable by up to life in prison.

Defenses to a Burglary of a Dwelling Charge

In addition to factual defenses that would be raised at trial to show reasonable doubt as to the crime alleged, some common defenses to a Burglary of a Dwelling charge in Florida include:

You were invited in
A defense to a Florida Burglary of a Dwelling charge is that you were invited into the dwelling. If you were invited in by a person authorized to do so, you will have done nothing wrong and this will serve as a complete defense to the charge.

However, it is important to remember that an invitation can be revoked at any time and should you remain in the dwelling surreptitiously with the intent to commit a crime therein, after you invitation or permission has been revoked, you will still be charged with Burglary of a Dwelling under Florida law.

The dwelling is open to the public
Businesses or other venues that hold themselves open to the general public allow people to enter without getting pre-approved permission. If you’ve merely entered a dwelling that is open to the public you will not have committed the crime of Burglary of a Dwelling under Florida law. However, it is important to remember that most businesses and other venues have areas that are restricted from the public and deemed “employee” only areas. Should you enter a restricted area or enter when the premises is not open to the public, you could find yourself charged with Burglary of a Dwelling.

Lack of physical evidence to prove Burglary of a Dwelling
One issue that should always be explored is whether there is even sufficient evidence to indicate that you were ever at or near the dwelling. A lack of fingerprints, witnesses, and surveillance can be used to raise reasonable doubt that you ever committed a crime.

The premises was not a "dwelling" as defined under Florida law
Remember, a “dwelling” is defined as a building or other structure that has a roof over it and is designed to be occupied by people at night. If there is insufficient evidence to suggest that the premises allegedly entered was indeed a dwelling, the State may not be able to prove the crime of Burglary of a Dwelling.

Contact Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney Chris Kaigle if you’ve been charged with Burglary of a Dwelling in Florida!
(407) 545-6416