Breaking and Entering Law Florida
While breaking and entering does not appear to be a severe offense, however, Florida breaking and entering law treats it similar to burglary and looks at it as a felony offense. Apart from hefty fines and prison terms, felonies in Florida also attach sanctions such as compulsory waiting periods to adopt, disqualification for government assistance, and inability to vote.
Typically, burglary is regarded as a property crime, which refers to the occupation or entry into the premises of another person with the intention of engaging in illegal activity. To prove the offense based on the elements mentioned by the breaking and entering law in Florida, the prosecution must prove that the accused had entered someone else’s premises with the intention of carrying out a criminal offense such as theft.
The prosecution should also prove that the accused had entered the property without authorization. Also, the prosecution may also prove a burglary when the accused had permission initially to enter but stayed back on the property even after the expiry of that invitation.
In Florida, breaking and entering a premise is not a distinct crime but a generic term for a burglary, which does not lead to committing another offense. So, technically speaking, if a person is facing the charge of breaking and entering in Florida, he/she will be slapped with the charges of a burglary.
Florida breaking and entering laws: Classifications
The state of Florida can prosecute an act of burglary as a first-degree, second-degree, or a third-degree felony. The prosecution can establish it as a 1st-degree felony when the accused used any kind of motor vehicle for damaging the structure or dwelling or in case the accused caused damage over 1,000 USD to the structure of dwelling during the burglary.
In case the accused did not commit battery or assault and did not have a dangerous weapon, the act of burglary can be prosecuted as a 2nd-degree felony. The onus is on the prosecution to prove that the accused had committed burglary of a certain kind of conveyance, structure, or dwelling as specified by the Florida laws.
“Dwelling’ here refers to a place that is used for habitation and a “structure” denotes any kind of building, which is not specifically designed for occupation or habitation. On the other hand, conveyance refers to properties such as boats, ships, trailers, and cars.
Burglary in Florida defined
An act of burglary is committed when a person enters into a conveyance, dwelling, or a structure with the intention of committing a crime there, when such a premise is not opened for the public or when the defendant had the invitation or license to enter a certain property
Irrespective of the invited or licensed entry, he/she remained in a conveyance, structure, or dwelling:
- Surreptitiously, having the intention of committing a crime therein;
- Even after the withdrawal of the permission with the intention of committing a crime; or
- Attempt to commit or commit a felony that is forcible in nature
Punishment for breaking and entering in Florida
- Third-degree felony: The convicted has to pay a maximum fine of 5,000 USD and a maximum prison term of 5 years
- Second-degree felony: The guilty are penalized by a maximum fine of 10,000 USD and a maximum prison term of 15 years
- First-degree felony: The convicted can be penalized with a maximum fine of 10,000 USD and a life imprisonment term.
Possible defenses available to burglary charges
- The defendant did not have the intention of committing a criminal offense
- The premises were accessible to the general public when the defendant entered
- The owner had approved the presence or entry of the defendant on his/her property
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