Here in Florida, going into in a vehicle, building or home without authorization with the intent to commit a crime is burglary. The state’s definition of burglary also covers certain instances of remaining on such premises with the intent to commit a crime. Under state law, burglary is a felony offense.
However, burglary crimes vary in how severe of felonies they are. This is because, in Florida, there are three felony degrees burglary crimes can fall under: third, second and first.
Burglary of a vehicle or building starts as a third degree felony, but can jump up to the higher degrees if certain circumstances are present. For example, if anyone else was present in the building or vehicle at the time of the burglary, the offense rises to being at least a second degree felony.
Burglary of a occupied structure, meanwhile, starts as a second degree felony, but can rise to first degree in certain situations.
Examples of things that will generally cause a burglary (whether it be in a vehicle, building or home) to be a first degree felony include the offense involving: a dangerous weapon, explosives or an assault/battery.
What felony level a burglary charge a person is facing is at is very impactful. It affects what consequences he or she could face if convicted on the charge. Here are the maximum prison sentences of the three felony degrees of burglary:
- Third degree: 5 years
- Second degree: 15 years
- First degree: Life
Also, the maximum fine is $5,000 for third degree, and $10,000 for second and first.
Whatever degree of burglary charges individuals are facing here in Florida, it can be vital for them to have accurate information on how severe of consequences they could be facing and what their options are for fighting the charges. Speaking with a skilled theft crime defense attorney can be a critical step in this regard.