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Burglary of an Occupied Structure



Understanding Burglary of an Occupied Structure

Burglary of an Occupied Structure in Florida is a serious offense, classified as a Second Degree Felony. This charge applies when an individual unlawfully enters a dwelling, structure, or conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, at a time when the premises are occupied. The gravity of this crime is underscored by its potential penalties, including up to fifteen years in prison, fifteen years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.

What is Burglary of an Occupied Structure? It’s a crime involving unauthorized entry into a dwelling or structure that is currently occupied, with the intention to commit an offense inside, classified under Florida law as a Second Degree Felony.

The key elements that constitute this crime include the unauthorized entry, the occupancy of the structure at the time of entry, and the intent to commit a crime within. This offense is distinct from trespassing, as it specifically involves entering with the intent to commit an offense beyond mere unauthorized presence.

Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code assigns a Level 6 offense severity ranking to Burglary of an Occupied Structure, indicating its serious nature. The law provides for a range of penalties, with the possibility of probation but also up to the statutory maximum of fifteen years in prison, reflecting the offense’s potential to harm or disturb occupants.

The circumstances of the burglary, such as whether it was committed during a state of emergency, or involved assault, battery, or being armed, can exacerbate the charges and penalties. For instance, burglary of an occupied conveyance during a state of emergency elevates the crime to a first-degree felony, highlighting the legal system’s response to crimes that exploit vulnerable situations.

Defending against charges of Burglary of an Occupied Structure requires a nuanced understanding of legal defenses such as lack of intent, mistaken belief of consent, or the premise being open to the public. These defenses, when effectively argued by a skilled criminal defense lawyer, can result in charges being reduced or dismissed.

For those facing such charges, it’s crucial to consult with experienced legal counsel who can navigate the complexities of the law and advocate on your behalf. Leppard Law: Burglary and Trespassing Defense Attorneys are well-versed in the intricacies of Florida’s burglary laws and offer personalized, aggressive defense strategies aimed at securing the best possible outcome for our clients.

Burglary Defense Strategies

Understanding the legal landscape and potential defenses is the first step in fighting charges of Burglary of an Occupied Structure. With the right legal team, individuals accused of this serious offense can work towards a resolution that protects their rights and future.

Penalties for Burglary of an Occupied Structure

The consequences of being convicted for Burglary of an Occupied Structure in Florida are severe and far-reaching. This crime is considered a significant offense under Florida law, reflecting the potential danger and distress such actions can cause to occupants. Understanding the penalties and how they compare to burglary involving unoccupied structures is crucial for anyone facing these charges.

Burglary Tools

Comparing Penalties: Unoccupied vs. Occupied Structures

The distinction between an unoccupied and an occupied structure significantly impacts the severity of the penalties imposed upon conviction. Here’s a closer look at how these penalties differ:

  • Unoccupied Structure: Burglary of an unoccupied structure or conveyance is generally classified as a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
  • Occupied Structure: The burglary of an occupied structure, dwelling, or conveyance is classified as a second-degree felony, with penalties including up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.

The severity of penalties underscores the legal system’s effort to protect individuals’ safety and peace in their homes and occupied structures.

What elevates a burglary charge to a first-degree felony? If the burglary involves assault or battery, becomes armed with a deadly weapon, or causes damage over $1,000, it can be charged as a first-degree felony, punishable by up to life in prison.

Furthermore, the use of a weapon or firearm during the commission of a burglary not only escalates the crime to a more serious felony but also triggers mandatory minimum sentences, emphasizing the gravity of such offenses.

It’s also worth noting that being charged with burglary does not preclude additional charges related to the incident. For instance, if property damage occurs, a charge of criminal mischief may also be levied. Similarly, if entry was gained without breaking, a charge of trespass might apply.

Given these potential outcomes, it’s imperative for anyone facing charges of Burglary of an Occupied Structure to seek competent legal representation. At Leppard Law: Burglary and Trespassing Defense Attorneys, we understand the nuances of Florida’s burglary laws and are committed to providing our clients with a robust defense aimed at achieving the best possible outcome.

Whether it’s arguing for the reduction of charges based on the specifics of the case, such as lack of intent or consent to enter, or fighting for acquittal, our experienced attorneys are dedicated to protecting your rights and freedoms. Contact us today to discuss your case and learn more about how we can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system.

Defending Against Burglary of an Occupied Structure Charges

When facing charges for Burglary of an Occupied Structure in Florida, it’s vital to understand the defenses available to you. These charges can carry severe consequences, but with the right strategy, it’s possible to challenge the prosecution’s case. At Leppard Law, we specialize in crafting robust defenses for our clients, drawing on our extensive experience and legal knowledge.

Two common defenses against burglary charges include the absence of intent to commit a crime and consent to enter the premises. These defenses can significantly impact the outcome of your case, potentially leading to charges being reduced or even dismissed.

  • Consent: If you had permission to be on the property, this could invalidate the burglary charge. Consent might be explicit or implied, and proving it can significantly undermine the prosecution’s case. Understanding trespass laws and how consent plays a role is crucial.
  • Lack of Intent: Burglary charges hinge on the intent to commit a crime once inside. Demonstrating that your presence in the structure was without criminal intent can be a powerful defense. This might include situations where you entered seeking shelter or help.

What does it mean to have a ‘Lack of Intent’ in burglary cases? Lack of Intent refers to situations where the individual accused of burglary did not enter the property with the purpose of committing an offense. Proving a lack of criminal intent can be pivotal in defending against burglary charges.

Additional defenses may include disputing the facts presented by the prosecution, challenging the evidence as inadmissible or tainted, and questioning the legality of how evidence was obtained. In some cases, demonstrating that you were merely a bystander or wrongly identified can be effective.

At Leppard Law, our approach to defending against Burglary of an Occupied Structure charges is comprehensive. We meticulously review every detail of the case, from the circumstances of your arrest to the evidence against you. Our goal is to ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process. We explore every avenue of defense, including negotiating plea deals when appropriate or fighting vigorously in court to prove your innocence.

Remember, being charged with a crime does not mean you will be convicted. With the right defense strategy, it’s possible to mitigate the impact of these charges on your life. If you’re facing burglary charges, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our experienced burglary defense attorneys are here to help you navigate through this challenging time. Contact Leppard Law: Burglary and Trespassing Defense Attorneys today at 407-476-4111 to discuss your case and learn more about how we can assist you.


Exploring real-world scenarios of Burglary of an Occupied Structure charges can illuminate the complexities of the law and the critical role of a skilled defense attorney. These hypothetical cases, inspired by our vast experience at Leppard Law, showcase various legal outcomes based on the application of defenses, evidentiary challenges, and negotiation strategies.

Legal Defense Strategies

Case Studies: Burglary of an Occupied Structure

Each case of Burglary of an Occupied Structure presents unique challenges and opportunities for defense. The following are fictional examples designed to illustrate how certain factors might influence the legal outcome.

  • Case Study 1: A young adult, Alex, is accused of entering a neighbor’s garage with the intent to commit theft. Alex’s defense attorney successfully argues that Alex had previously been given implicit consent to borrow tools from the garage, leading to a significant reduction in charges based on the consent defense.
  • Case Study 2: Jordan is charged after being found inside a commercial building after hours. The defense demonstrates that Jordan entered the building seeking shelter during a storm, with no intent to commit a crime, utilizing the lack of intent defense, resulting in the dismissal of burglary charges.
  • Case Study 3: Taylor is identified on surveillance video breaking into a home. However, Taylor’s attorney challenges the legality of the surveillance evidence and raises questions about the accuracy of the identification, leading to a plea deal with significantly reduced penalties.

What role does evidence play in defending against burglary charges? The quality, legality, and interpretation of evidence are pivotal in shaping the defense strategy and influencing the case’s outcome.

In each case, the expertise of a defense attorney in challenging evidence, arguing for the application of defenses, and negotiating with prosecutors can make a significant difference in the legal outcome. These examples underscore the importance of engaging a knowledgeable legal professional when facing Burglary of an Occupied Structure charges.

If you or someone you know is facing similar charges, it’s crucial to seek experienced legal representation immediately. The team at Leppard Law is well-versed in the nuances of Florida’s burglary laws and is committed to providing a robust defense for our clients. Contact us today at 407-476-4111 to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Remember, early intervention by a skilled burglary defense attorney can be critical in achieving a favorable outcome.


Infographic depicting the words Burglary of an Occupied Structure

What is Burglary of an Occupied Structure?

Burglary of an Occupied Structure occurs when an individual unlawfully enters a structure, such as a home or business, that is currently occupied, with the intent to commit an offense inside. This crime is considered more severe due to the presence of occupants, which can escalate the potential for harm.

How is Burglary of an Occupied Structure punished in Florida?

In Florida, Burglary of an Occupied Structure is classified as a second-degree felony. It is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine. The severity of the punishment can vary based on the circumstances of the crime and the defendant’s criminal history.

Yes, consent can be a defense to Burglary of an Occupied Structure. If the defendant can prove that they had permission to enter the structure, this can serve as a valid defense against the charges. However, proving consent often requires substantial evidence and legal expertise.

What should I do if I’m charged with Burglary of an Occupied Structure?

If you’re charged with Burglary of an Occupied Structure, it’s crucial to seek legal representation immediately. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand your rights, evaluate the evidence against you, and develop a strong defense strategy. Early legal intervention can significantly impact the outcome of your case.

Exploring related legal challenges? Here are additional practice areas we specialize in, offering expert guidance and defense strategies across Florida.

Burglary Trespass
Burglary of a Dwelling Trespass on Property
Burglary of a Structure Trespass on School Grounds
Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure Trespass in a Structure
Burglary of a Conveyance Trespass in a Conveyance
Burglary of an Unoccupied Conveyance Possession of Burglary Tools
Burglary of an Occupied Conveyance Trespassing Inside a Structure or Conveyance

List of Top-Rated Burglary and Trespassing Attorneys Serving Florida

Choosing the right legal representation is crucial when facing charges. A dedicated Burglary and Trespassing attorney ensures you’re well-informed and prepared at every stage of your case.

  • John Vallillo: Known for his meticulous attention to detail, John Vallillo offers personalized and effective legal representation for a variety of charges.
  • Joe Easton: Specializing in challenging evidence and securing favorable outcomes, Joe Easton is deeply committed to achieving justice for his clients.
  • Joel Leppard: Joel Leppard’s strategic approach and skilled negotiation have led to numerous case dismissals and reduced charges, making him a trusted advocate for his clients.

Discover What Our Clients Are Saying

At Leppard Law, we pour our dedication into every case, and the positive feedback from our clients reflects our commitment to excellence and client satisfaction.



Infographic depicting the words Burglary of an Occupied Structure

Secure Your Future with Expert Burglary Defense

When you’re facing charges of burglary of an occupied structure, the weight of the situation can feel overwhelming. It’s a moment where the right support can not just change the outcome of your case, but potentially the course of your life. At Leppard Law: Burglary and Trespassing Defense Attorneys, we understand the gravity of your situation and are here to offer the expertise and compassionate support you need.

Our approach is personal. We see beyond the case files and numbers, recognizing the human element in every scenario. This means when you choose us, you’re not just getting a lawyer; you’re gaining an ally, a confidant, and a friend who is deeply invested in protecting your rights and securing the best possible outcome for you.

  • Experience You Can Trust: With over 60 years of combined experience and a track record of success, our team is well-equipped to navigate the complexities of your case.
  • Personalized Attention: Every case is unique, which is why we tailor our defense strategies to the specific details of your situation, ensuring you receive the focused and effective representation you deserve.
  • Clear Communication: We believe in keeping you informed every step of the way, providing clarity and peace of mind during uncertain times.
  • Proven Results: From dismissals to reduced charges, our goal is to achieve the best possible outcome for you. Our success is measured by your satisfaction.

Don’t let a charge define your future. Let us help you navigate this challenging time with our expertise, dedication, and the personalized care you won’t find anywhere else. Call us today at 407-476-4111 for a free consultation, and take the first step towards securing your future.

Awards & Recognition

Our commitment to excellence has not gone unnoticed. We are honored to be recognized by our peers and clients alike:

Award Organization Year Criteria Link
Listed among the “Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Orlando” Expertise 2024 Excellence in defense strategies and client satisfaction Expertise.com
Listed among the “Top 10 Best DUI Lawyers Near Orlando, Florida” Yelp 2024 Client reviews and ratings Yelp.com
Awesome Attorneys Orlando Orlando Family Magazine 2024 Reader and peer nominations Orlando Family Magazine
Martindale Hubbell “Client Champion Platinum” Martindale Hubbell 2024 Exceptional client feedback Martindale.com
SuperLawyers “Rising Star” SuperLawyers 2020 Peer recognition and professional achievement SuperLawyers.com

At Leppard Law, we’re more than just your attorneys; we’re your staunchest advocates. Reach out to us at 407-476-4111 today and let us stand by your side.

Trusted Content

Legally Reviewed by Joe Easton

Expert Attorney

Legally reviewed by Joe Easton and the content team, this article reflects the firm’s over 60 years of combined criminal defense expertise. Joe Easton, renowned for his extensive experience and strategic prowess in DUI and criminal defense, provides not just legal representation but a commitment to turning legal challenges into victories. His approach, blending tenacity in the courtroom with personalized client care, ensures your case is not just defended but championed with dedication and expertise.

Learn More About Joe Easton