Burglary of a Conveyance: Orlando, Florida Criminal Defense Attorney
What is Burglary of a Conveyance?
If you’re facing charges for burglary of a conveyance in Florida, it’s crucial to comprehend what this legal terminology actually means. Governed by Florida Statutes § 810.02, this specific type of burglary focuses on unauthorized entry or lingering inside a conveyance with the intent to perpetrate another crime within that space.
The term ‘conveyance’ isn’t limited to just cars or trucks. It encompasses a wide range of mobile units such as ships, vessels, railroad vehicles, trailers, aircraft, and even sleeping cars. Given this broad definition, the law can apply to numerous situations, making it all the more complex and far-reaching.
What complicates matters further is the set of conditions that can either aggravate or mitigate the charges. For instance, if the conveyance in question was open to the public, like a store or a public bus, the accused might have a valid defense. Similarly, having permission or an invitation to enter or remain in the conveyance can also serve as a legal defense.
Understanding these intricacies can be a complicated affair, and misinterpreting them can lead to severe consequences. Therefore, having an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side is invaluable.
Essential Elements of Burglary of a Conveyance in Florida
Securing a conviction for burglary of a conveyance under Sec. 810.02, Florida Statutes requires the prosecution to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
When it comes to burglary of a conveyance in the state of Florida, it’s crucial to understand that the prosecution has the burden of proof. According to Sec. 810.02 of the Florida Statutes, several elements must be established beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction to occur. These elements not only define the scope of the offense but also form the foundation of any defense strategy.
Unlawful Entry with Intent to Commit a Crime
The first key element that the prosecution must prove is unlawful entry into a conveyance with the intention of committing another offense inside. It’s not enough to simply prove that you entered a conveyance; the state must also show that you had a specific criminal intent upon entry. This aspect makes the role of a skilled defense attorney pivotal in scrutinizing the evidence and arguing against the purported intent.
Remaining in a Conveyance without Permission
Another crucial point that needs substantiation is whether the accused remained in a conveyance either without permission or after permission had been revoked, with the intention of perpetrating a crime. This may include scenarios where an individual was initially permitted but overstayed their welcome with the aim to commit a criminal offense. It’s another area where skilled legal counsel can make a significant difference.
Entry with Permission but Remaining to Commit a Forcible Felony
Lastly, even if you entered a conveyance with permission, you could still face charges if it is proven that you stayed to commit or attempt to commit a forcible felony. This term refers to severe offenses like assault, battery, or robbery, and would elevate the severity of the burglary charge considerably.
Penalties for Burglary of a Conveyance in Florida
The state of Florida takes the crime of burglary of a conveyance very seriously, and the penalties can be severe. These consequences are meted out based on the specific circumstances surrounding the case and are generally categorized under three main types:
|Third-degree felony: Up to 5 years prison/probation, $5,000 fine
|Second-degree felony: Up to 15 years prison/probation, $10,000 fine
|First-degree felony: Up to 30 years prison/probation, $10,000 fine
Penalties for Burglary of an Unoccupied Conveyance
Burglary of an Unoccupied Conveyance is classified as a third-degree felony in the State of Florida. Conviction of this charge may result in up to 5 years of either prison or probation. In addition, a fine of up to $5,000 can be imposed.
Severity Level Under Criminal Punishment Code: This specific charge carries a severity level of 4, which equates to 22 points under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code.
Minimum Mandatory Sentencing: Interestingly, assuming there are no aggravating factors like prior criminal convictions or use of a deadly weapon, there is no minimum mandatory sentence for this charge. In layman’s terms, this means the judge has discretion over the amount of time you could serve, up to the 5-year maximum, without any mandated minimum prison time.
Penalties for Burglary of an Occupied Conveyance
For those charged with Burglary of an Occupied Conveyance, the offense is categorized as a second-degree felony. The penalties include up to 15 years of either prison or probation and a fine of up to $10,000.
Severity Level Under Criminal Punishment Code: This charge comes with a severity level of 7, which equates to 56 points under the state’s Criminal Punishment Code.
Minimum Permissible Sentence: Assuming no aggravating circumstances exist, the minimum permissible sentence is 21 months in prison. Judges are prohibited from imposing lesser sentences unless special conditions, known as “downward departures,” are presented and validated.
Penalties for Enhanced Burglary of a Conveyance
In instances where a burglary involves certain aggravating actions, the charge can escalate to a first-degree felony. If convicted, you could face up to 30 years in prison or probation and be fined up to $10,000. Enhanced Burglary of a Conveyance involves one or more of the following actions during the crime:
- Committing assault or battery on any person;
- Entering the conveyance armed with dangerous weapons or explosives;
- Utilizing a motor vehicle to facilitate the burglary while causing damage to the dwelling or property within; OR
- Inflicting damage exceeding $1,000 to the dwelling or property inside the conveyance.
Severity Level Under Criminal Punishment Code: The severity level is marked at 8, translating to 74 points under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code.
Minimum Permissible Sentence: If no other aggravating circumstances are considered, the minimum allowable sentence for this elevated charge is 34.5 months in prison.
How Can I Defend a Charge of Burglary of a Conveyance in Florida?
Facing a charge of burglary of a conveyance is undoubtedly a stressful experience, but there are several legal defenses that could be employed to weaken the prosecution’s case or even result in its dismissal. Here are some commonly used defenses:
Motion to Suppress: One of the first defensive strategies that can be employed is the motion to suppress. This is a formal, written request to the court asking it to exclude certain evidence on the basis that it was obtained in violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights. If the evidence was acquired through an illegal search or seizure, the prosecution cannot use it against the defendant. If successful, this motion could significantly weaken the prosecution’s case and could lead to a dismissal or reduction in charges.
Lack of Intent to Commit a Crime: The crime of burglary of a conveyance includes the element of ‘intent’. The State is required to present evidence indicating the defendant had intent to commit an offense once inside the conveyance. If there’s insufficient evidence about your intent, this can be a robust defense. A similar argument can be made if your intent was not to commit an offense inside but to fulfill some other purpose. However, this may still leave you guilty of Trespass in a Structure or Conveyance, which is a less severe offense.
Consent: Burglary of a Conveyance is not committed when the evidence shows that an authorized person had given you consent to enter or remain in the property. Even if one person refuses to give you consent, if another person does give consent, then you cannot be found guilty unless the State proves that the other person had no legal authority to provide consent. (reversing burglary conviction when two residents refused consent but the State failed to disprove the defendant’s claim that a third resident had provided consent);
Likewise, you cannot commit a burglary of a store or other similar location if you only stay in the part of the building that is open to the public (although you may still receive a Robbery charge in some circumstances). Cappello v. State, 199 So. 3d 1113 (Fla. 5th DCA 2016)
Mistake of Fact: A “Mistake of Fact” defense can be invoked if you reasonably believed that you were authorized to enter the conveyance. This would require convincing evidence that the conveyance was open to the public, or you had been explicitly or implicitly invited to enter.
Alibi Defense: The alibi defense is another strong strategy, where the defendant claims to have been elsewhere at the time the alleged crime occurred. This strategy requires evidence, such as witness statements, surveillance footage, or other forms of proof, showing the defendant was not at the scene of the crime when it occurred.
Insufficient Evidence: if the prosecution fails to provide compelling evidence to prove all elements of the burglary charge beyond a reasonable doubt, your attorney can argue for dismissal or reduced charges. An experienced lawyer can scrutinize the quality and credibility of evidence, interrogate the trustworthiness of witnesses, and highlight inconsistencies in the prosecution’s narrative to challenge its case effectively.
1. Can I be charged with Burglary of a Conveyance if I only intended to sleep in the vehicle, not steal anything?
While the intent is a crucial component of a burglary charge, the intended crime does not need to be theft. If you entered the conveyance with the intention to commit any crime, including trespassing to sleep, you could be charged with Burglary of a Conveyance.
2. What’s the difference between burglary and robbery?
In Florida, burglary involves unlawfully entering a structure or conveyance with the intent to commit a crime therein, while robbery refers to taking property directly from a person using force, violence, assault, or causing fear.
3. If the vehicle I’m accused of burglarizing was unlocked, can I still be charged?
Yes, you can still be charged with Burglary of a Conveyance even if the vehicle was unlocked. The key element is whether you had the intent to commit a crime once inside the vehicle, not whether the vehicle was locked or unlocked.
4. Can a juvenile be charged with Burglary of a Conveyance?
Yes, a juvenile can be charged with Burglary of a Conveyance. However, the judicial process for juveniles is different, and the penalties can vary. An experienced defense attorney can help navigate the complexities of the juvenile justice system.
5. If I didn’t take anything, can I still be charged with burglary?
Yes, you can. Burglary charges depend on your intent to commit a crime inside the conveyance, not whether you actually committed the crime or stole anything.
6. Are there any diversion programs available for a first-time offender charged with Burglary of a Conveyance?
Yes, Florida offers diversion programs such as pre-trial intervention (PTI) for first-time offenders, which can result in charges being dropped upon successful completion of the program. However, eligibility varies, and you should consult with an experienced attorney to explore this option.
7. What are the consequences of a Burglary of a Conveyance conviction on my record?
A Burglary of a Conveyance conviction is a serious offense and can have long-lasting implications, including difficulties finding employment, housing, or obtaining certain licenses. Moreover, it can also influence the outcome of future legal proceedings. Therefore, it’s crucial to get legal representation to help you fight these charges.
Find an experienced, seasoned attorney throughout Central Florida.
If you’ve been charged with the burglary of a conveyance, it is crucial to consult an experienced lawyer right away. The crime of burglary is serious and convictions can result in a lengthy prison time. Our Attorneys here at Leppard Law has provided a steadfast and aggressive defense for those who are accused of crimes like burglary. Here at Leppard Law, we understand how terrifying it is to be accused of committing a crime. We can effectively guide you throughout the legal process while making sure your rights are well-protected.
Call us today at 407-476-4111 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with our experienced criminal defense lawyers.