The basic elements of a burglary charge

One of the most common cases that criminal defense lawyers typically work on in Florida is burglary. Although the charge may seem straightforward, there are a few key elements that need to be present in order for the prosecution to prove their case. Read on to learn more.

What is burglary?

Burglary is typically defined as the unlawful entry into a structure with the intent to commit a criminal offense. In order for someone to get convicted of burglary, the prosecution must prove certain elements.

The defendant unlawfully entered a structure

This means that they did not have permission to enter. For example, if someone breaks into a home through a window, that would be an unlawful entry.

The defendant had the intent to commit a criminal offense

This means that the defendant intended to commit some type of criminal activity while inside the structure. For example, if they entered with the intent to steal, that would denote criminal intent.

How is burglary different from robbery?

Burglary is the unlawful entry into a structure with the intent to commit a criminal offense, while robbery is taking something from another person by force or threat of violence. Many robbery charges arise from burglaries, as the defendant will often take property from the victim after entering their home.

What are some common defenses to burglary?

There are many possible defenses to a burglary charge, but one of the most common ones includes the fact that the defendant had permission to enter the structure. Secondly, a criminal defense lawyer could argue that the structure did not meet the legal definition of “structure” under Florida law. Note that the criminal law requires a structure to meet certain criteria, such as being sufficiently enclosed.

Also, it’s possible the defendant lacked the criminal intent required for burglary. For instance, if they entered the structure to seek help, this would not constitute criminal intent.

If you or someone you know has been recently arrested for burglary, it is possible to fight and win the case. The first step is to understand the elements of your case, whether they are present, and decide on the best course of action.

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