Burglary or trespass charges are different crimes, but they are related closely-enough to be addressed in the same discussion.
Burglary basically means entering someone else’s property with the intent to engage in another act that would constitute a crime while in there. In Florida in 2017, there were 88,778 burglaries reported, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. 1120 of those burglaries were reported in Gainesville and the Alachua County area, as discussed in one of my previous articles about crime statistics.
According to Florida Statutes section 810.02:
1. Entering a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the defendant is licensed or invited to enter; or
2. Notwithstanding a licensed or invited entry, remaining in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance:
a. Surreptitiously, with the intent to commit an offense therein;
b. After permission to remain therein has been withdrawn, with the intent to commit an offense therein; or
c. To commit or attempt to commit a forcible felony, as defined in s. 776.08.
Punishment/Penalties for Burglary
A basic burglary is typically a third-degree felony in Florida, but if the accused is (or becomes) armed in the process, or if an assault or battery occurs during the course of the burglary, it can become a first-degree felony punishable by life in prison.
Defenses to a Burglary Charge
Defenses to a burglary charge include questioning whether the property was even actually entered, whether the property owner actually gave consent, whether the property was open to the public, self-defense (in some circumstances), necessity, and voluntary intoxication, among other possibilities. Possession of burglary tools is also a crime under Florida Statutes section 810.06, and is often a companion charge in a burglary case.
Trespassing is essentially entering or remaining on or in someone else’s property or vehicle without permission. Florida Statutes section 810.08 states:
Whoever, without being authorized, licensed, or invited, willfully enters or remains in any structure or conveyance, or, having been authorized, licensed, or invited, is warned by the owner or lessee of the premises, or by a person authorized by the owner or lessee, to depart and refuses to do so, commits the offense of trespass in a structure or conveyance.
Chapter 810 also extends trespassing to school grounds and posted lands. Trespassing is typically a misdemeanor unless an enhancement exists, such as “armed trespassing,” which is a third-degree felony.
Trespassing is a “lesser included offense” of burglary. In other words, burglary is just trespassing with the additional element that you were trespassing with the intent to commit an additional crime.
In any event, The Weisman Law Firm handles burglary and trespass charges for people accused of crimes. The founders had the sense to establish the constitutional principles that we’re all presumed innocent until proven guilty, the burden is on the state to prove a person’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and that any person accused of a crime is guaranteed effective representation. If you, a friend, or a loved one has been accused of a crime like this, feel free to contact The Weisman Law Firm for a free, confidential consultation.