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In Florida, Burglary of a Structure is defined as the entering of a building of any kind which has a roof over it with the intent to commit a crime therein.
 
The Florida definition of a “structure” is distinguished from a “dwelling” in that a dwelling is designed to lodge people at night and a structure is not (i.e., factory vs. house).

Penalties for a Burglary of a Structure Charge

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

If the structure was ocupied during at the time the Burglary was committed, it is punishable as a second degree felony. If the structure was not occupied, it is punishable as a third degree felony.
However, if during the course of 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
Florida law reclassifies the Burglary of a Structure as a first degree felony and makes it punishable by up to life in prison.

Defenses to a Burglary of a Structure 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 Structure charge in Florida include:

You were invited in
A defense to a Florida Burglary of a Structure charge is that you were invited into the structure. 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in the structure surreptitiously with the intent to commit a crime therein, after you invitation or permission has been revoked, you will still be charged with Burglary of a Structure under Florida law.

The structure 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 the structure that is open to the public you will not have committed the crime of Burglary of a Structure 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 Structure.

Lack of physical evidence to prove Burglary of a Structure
One issue that should always be explored is whether there is even sufficient evidence to indicate that you were ever at or near the structure. 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 "structure" as defined under Florida law
Remember, a “structure” is defined as any building with a roof over it. If there is insufficient evidence to suggest that the premises allegedly entered was indeed a structure as that term is defined under Florida law, the State may not be able to prove the crime of Burglary of a Structure.

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