In Florida, a person can be charged with burglary when he enters into a house, car, business, or any other building without permission and with the intent to commit a crime inside. Burglary can be anywhere from a third degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, up to a Life felony. The severity of the charges varies based upon the location of the burglary (house, car, store, etc.), whether the burglary involved a firearm or other weapon, and whether any person was allegedly battered or assaulted during the burglary.
The State does not have to show that anything was stolen or that the person broke in to gain access in order to charge a person with burglary under Florida law. However, if the State cannot show that the person had the intention to commit a crime inside, the person may only be charged with Trespassing, which is typically a second degree misdemeanor. This is why not everyone who is arrested for Burglary is charged with Burglary.
It is imperative that a person arrested for Burglary of any degree hire an experienced attorney as soon as possible. An attorney experienced in defending burglary charges can speak with the State Attorney’s Office before they decide what charges to file. This may mean that only misdemeanor charges are filed or sometimes no charges are filed at all. Even where felony charges are filed, an attorney with experience in Burglary cases, such as Richard Tendler, can negotiate with the State to reduce charges even after they are filed. He can prepare the case for trial, take depositions, talk to witnesses, and present the best defense possible to the jury.