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Burglary - Florida Statute 810.02 | West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer

Are you being charged, in Palm Beach County, Florida with Burglary? We are burglary defense attorneys located in West Palm Beach. When you are arrested for Burglary of a Dwelling, Conveyance, or Structure you want a Criminal lawyer that understands and practices in this area of law. Don’t hire a lawyer that dabbles in criminal defense; hire a criminal defense attorney that has extensive experience in defending Burglary cases. Your attorney needs to have knowledge and experience but also needs to know the players. Knowing the players comes from years of being inside the courtroom. Finding the best criminal defense attorney in Palm Beach County, for your case, is difficult. You need to review their educational background, experience in criminal cases, their reputation in the community, and their ability to communicate with you, the client. The quality of the criminal defense attorney you hire to defend your Burglary case is extremely important. We ask that you consider our South Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys.

Burglary is part of a group of crimes called inchoate (in-coh-ate) crimes. The best way to think of inchoate crimes is they are crimes of attempting to commit a crime. Burglary is the crime of entering a building or vehicle to commit a crime inside it. Other types of inchoate crimes include attempt, conspiracy, and solicitation.

There are two general types of burglary: (1) burglary where the person entered without permission and (2) burglary where the person entered with permission. There are also other things that can be done by the defendant to enhance the punishment of the burglary depending on factors such as the burglary is of a dwelling, the defendant commits an assault or battery while committing a burglary, or the defendant becomes armed in the dwelling. There are three different things that can be burglarized: (1) a dwelling, (2) a structure, or (3) a conveyance.

A dwelling is what we commonly refer to as a home. A structure can be an outdoor shed, a freestanding garage, a storage space, etc. A conveyance is a fancy way of saying something that moves you around such as “any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad vehicle or car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car[.]”

Burglary Without Permission

Sneaking into a building without permission is what most people think of when they think of the crime of burglary. The thought of some black masked man sneaking around in the bushes and prying open a window is very stereotypical.

What the State Prosecutor has to Prove to Convict You of Burglary Without Permission

The state prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. You entered a structure or a vehicle owned or in the possession of another person; and
  2. When you entered the structure or conveyance with the intent to commit an offense other than burglary or trespass inside.

The entry does not have to be the whole burglar’s body but could be a small part such as the hand. For example, a person commits burglary if he reaches down into the back of a truck or through an open car window and steals something.

Burglary With Permission

While some burglars wear ski masks and carry crowbars, others come into houses or stores with permission only to stay hidden inside. Think of the “Wet Bandits” from the movie Home Alone II where they stayed hidden inside the toy store after the store closed so they could steal the money. Another example is a criminal case here in Palm Beach County where the defendant came into the house invited, but hid in the kid’s room to commit crimes later.

The invitation to come in must not have been obtained by trick, fraud, or deceit. For example, if the burglars dress up like the cleaning crew and get past the security guards at a bank, they are committing burglary because they did not really have permission.

What the State Prosecutor has to Prove to Convict you of Burglary With Permission

The state prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. You had permission or consent to enter the vehicle or structure owned or possessed by another; and
  2. After you entered, you stayed inside either:
    1. Secretly and with intent to commit a crime inside;
    2. After permission had been withdrawn you had intent to stay inside and commit a crime; or
    3. You stayed inside to commit a forcible felony.


Inchoate crimes are hard to prove because these types of crimes are in the mind. The prosecutor will have to use the facts of the case to prove you had intent to commit a crime inside. The prosecutor can do this a couple of ways. One way is that the prosecutor can show you had in your possession property that was stolen from inside the building or vehicle. Another way is if you had burglary tools and you were near the house or vehicle. If the prosecutor cannot prove you had intent to commit a crime inside but only that you entered without permission, you can only be convicted of trespass.


The penalties depend on which burglary you were charged with. A basic burglary of an unoccupied structure or unoccupied conveyance is a third-degree felony that is punishable up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. If the burglary is done during a state of emergency, the burglary can be punished as a second-degree felony.

If the burglary is of an occupied dwelling, structure, conveyance, or unoccupied dwelling, emergency vehicle, or for stealing controlled substances inside, then the burglary is classified as a second-degree felony which is punishable up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If any of these are burglarized during a state of emergency, it is a first-degree felony.

Burglary can be punished as a first-degree felony, punishable up to life in prison, when the defendant makes an assault or battery on someone, becomes armed inside with a deadly weapon or explosive, or causes damage to the structure or dwelling for more than $1,000 or for using a vehicle to cause damage. If you are committing burglary with a weapon or firearm, you could face a 10 year mandatory sentence for just the possession.

If you are not charged or convicted for burglary, you can still be prosecuted for trespass. If you broke anything, you could be charged with criminal mischief.

Contact the Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A.

The crime of burglary is a serious crime. Call today if you or a loved one have been arrested and charged with burglary. You can schedule a 5 minute free consultation with our West Palm Beach Burglary Defense Attorneys to discuss the facts of your case. Our attorneys will take the information that you give us and create a tailored defense for your case. We will find out what evidence the prosecutor has against you and what any witnesses or police officers observed. We will aggressively defend your case all the way to trial, if needed.

Sometimes cases cannot be won. For Example, there is a video of you burglarizing a house, the police use your cell phone to triangulate your position inside the victim’s home, and a neighbor gets the license plate of your getaway vehicle and your description. Now once arrested by police you give a full confession. Our West Palm Beach Burglary Defense Attorneys still don’t give up but will continue to negotiate to get you the best outcome possible to your case. We will create a mitigation package to try and persuade the prosecutor and judge to reduce your charges or reduce your sentence. Know that in whatever situation you are in, we will fight for you. Call today!

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