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Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure



Understanding Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure

In Florida, Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure represents a significant portion of property crimes, carrying serious legal consequences. This crime involves entering a structure without authorization when it is not in use, with the intent to commit an offense inside. Unlike burglary of a dwelling or conveyance, the structure in question is unoccupied at the time of the offense, which can include commercial buildings, public structures, or any enclosed area meant to be secure from unauthorized entry.

What exactly constitutes a structure for the purposes of this charge? A structure is defined legally as any building with a roof over it, and it can also include attached porches or enclosed spaces designed for use as a dwelling.

The key elements of this crime include the unauthorized entry or remaining in a structure, the structure’s unoccupied status, and the intent to commit an offense within. It’s crucial to understand that the intent to commit an offense is a defining element, distinguishing burglary from mere trespass.

Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure

Under Florida law, Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure is classified as a Third Degree Felony, which can result in penalties including up to five years in prison, five years of probation, and fines up to $5,000. This classification underscores the serious nature of the crime and the importance of seeking knowledgeable legal representation if you’re facing such charges.

For those accused, understanding the legal landscape is the first step toward building a defense. Burglary of a structure charges hinge on several factors, including the accused’s actions and intentions at the time of the alleged offense. Defenses may include challenging the prosecution’s evidence regarding intent, the accused’s presence at the scene, or whether the structure was indeed unoccupied at the time of entry.

At Leppard Law: Burglary and Trespassing Defense Attorneys, we understand the complexities surrounding charges of Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure. Our approach combines thorough legal knowledge with a commitment to our clients, ensuring that your case receives the attention and expertise it deserves. If you or someone you know is facing such charges, it’s crucial to act swiftly to protect your rights and future. Contact us at 407-476-4111 for a consultation and let us help you navigate through this challenging time.

Trespass on property, possession of burglary tools, and trespass in a conveyance are related offenses that our experienced attorneys can also provide guidance on, ensuring a comprehensive defense strategy for our clients.

Penalties for Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure

When facing a charge for Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure in Florida, understanding the potential legal consequences is paramount. This offense is not taken lightly in the judicial system and carries penalties that can significantly impact your life.

Severity and Sentencing Guidelines

The classification of Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure as a Third Degree Felony underlines the seriousness with which Florida views this crime. Conviction can result in a range of penalties, each with its own set of long-term consequences.

  • Imprisonment: Up to five years in state prison, reflecting the gravity of the offense and its impact on victims.
  • Probation: Up to five years of probation, during which time the individual’s freedoms are significantly restricted.
  • Fines: Financial penalties can reach up to $5,000, adding a substantial economic burden to the convicted individual.

Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure is assigned a Level 4 offense severity ranking under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code, indicating its serious nature within the spectrum of property crimes.

Moreover, the repercussions of a felony conviction extend beyond the sentence itself. A felony record can hinder employment opportunities, limit housing options, and restrict one’s rights, such as voting and firearm possession.

Consequences of Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure

Given these potential outcomes, it’s crucial to seek experienced legal representation. At Leppard Law: Burglary and Trespassing Defense Attorneys, we understand the complexities of Florida’s burglary laws and are committed to providing a robust defense for our clients. Whether challenging the prosecution’s evidence, negotiating for reduced charges, or fighting for acquittal at trial, our goal is to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

If you’re facing charges for Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure, don’t navigate this challenging time alone. Contact us at 407-476-4111 for a consultation, and let our expertise guide you through the legal process.

Additionally, we offer guidance on related offenses such as possession of burglary tools, trespass on property, and trespassing inside a structure or conveyance, ensuring a comprehensive approach to your defense.

Defenses Against Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure Charges

Being charged with Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure in Florida can feel overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that there are several defense strategies that can be effectively utilized. At Leppard Law, we specialize in crafting robust defenses tailored to the unique aspects of your case. Let’s explore some of the key defense strategies that could potentially lead to charges being reduced or even dismissed.

Key Defense Strategies

Understanding the defenses available for burglary charges is crucial. Here are some of the most common defenses we consider:

  • Lack of Intent: A fundamental element of burglary is the intent to commit an offense upon entry. Demonstrating that there was no intent to commit a crime inside the structure can be a powerful defense.
  • Consent: If you had permission to enter the structure, this could serve as a complete defense to burglary charges. Consent can sometimes be complex, especially if it comes from one occupant without the knowledge of others.
  • Presence in Public Areas: Being in a part of the structure that’s open to the public or where you had a legitimate right to be can also negate burglary charges.
  • Mistaken Identity or Alibi: If you can prove that you were not at the scene of the crime or are being mistaken for someone else, this can be a strong defense.

Burglary charges require specific elements to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If any element is missing, the charges may not stand.

Furthermore, there may be scenarios where you were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Being a bystander does not automatically make you guilty of burglary. Florida law requires more than mere presence at the scene of a crime to convict someone of burglary.

At Leppard Law, we diligently review every detail of your case, considering defenses like trespass as a lesser offense if applicable, or challenging the evidence based on possession of burglary tools allegations. Our approach is thorough, ensuring every possible angle is explored to protect your rights and freedom.

It’s also worth noting that trespass on property charges may apply in cases where the prosecution cannot prove the intent required for burglary. This could significantly reduce potential penalties.

If you’re facing charges for Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure, time is of the essence. Contact Leppard Law at 407-476-4111 to discuss your case with our experienced defense attorneys. We’re here to navigate you through this challenging time with expert legal counsel and support.


When it comes to understanding the complexities of Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure charges in Florida, real-world examples and past case studies provide invaluable insights. These scenarios not only illustrate how the law is applied in various circumstances but also highlight the importance of having a skilled defense attorney to navigate the legal system. At Leppard Law, we’ve handled numerous cases involving burglary charges, employing strategic defenses tailored to the unique aspects of each case.

Case Study Analysis

Consider the case of John Doe (name changed for privacy), who was accused of burglary after being found inside an unoccupied warehouse. The prosecution argued that Doe intended to commit theft, but our defense team successfully demonstrated that Doe had entered the structure seeking shelter from inclement weather, thereby lacking the intent to commit a crime inside. This defense strategy led to the charges being significantly reduced.

Another example involves Jane Smith (name altered for confidentiality), who was charged with burglary of an unoccupied structure after being caught on surveillance footage entering a closed community center. Our team argued that Smith had previously received consent to enter the premises for community service activities, and the charges were ultimately dismissed due to insufficient evidence of intent to commit a crime.

Understanding the nuances of each case is crucial in formulating an effective defense strategy. Whether it’s challenging the prosecution’s evidence or presenting mitigating circumstances, the goal is always to protect our client’s rights and achieve the best possible outcome.

These examples underscore the importance of a detailed investigation and a personalized defense approach. Every case is unique, and what works in one scenario may not be applicable in another. This is why at Leppard Law, we emphasize the importance of a comprehensive case review, leveraging our extensive experience in burglary defenses, to identify the most effective strategy for our clients.

Legal Strategy Meeting

Moreover, the evolving nature of legal interpretations and the introduction of new case law mean that staying abreast of the latest developments is essential. Our team continually updates our legal knowledge and skills, ensuring we can adeptly handle anything from trespassing charges to the most complex burglary cases.

In conclusion, if you or someone you know is facing charges for Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure, it’s imperative to seek legal assistance immediately. The experienced attorneys at Leppard Law are ready to provide the defense you deserve, offering a combination of legal expertise and a personal touch that sets us apart. Contact us today at 407-476-4111 to discuss your case and explore your defense options.


Infographic depicting the words Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure

Frequently Asked Questions: Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure

What constitutes a Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure in Florida?

Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure in Florida involves entering or remaining in a structure, with the intent to commit an offense therein, without the consent of the owner, and at a time when the structure is not occupied.

  • Structure: Refers to any building with a roof over it and is enclosed by walls, regardless of whether it is temporary or permanent.
  • Intent: The individual must have the intention to commit a crime within the structure at the time of entry.
  • Unoccupied: No one is present inside the structure at the time of the burglary.

What are the penalties for Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure?

The penalties for Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure can include up to five years in prison, five years of probation, and a $5,000 fine, as it is categorized as a Third Degree Felony in Florida.

Can consent be a defense to Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure charges?

Yes, consent can be a defense if the accused can demonstrate that they had permission to enter or remain within the structure. It is the responsibility of the defense to present evidence of consent, after which the burden shifts to the prosecution to disprove this claim beyond a reasonable doubt.

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

If you’re charged with Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure, it’s crucial to seek legal representation immediately. Contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the complexities of Florida’s burglary laws can help protect your rights and work towards the best possible outcome in your case.

In addition to defending clients against burglary of an unoccupied structure charges, we offer a broad range of legal services across various practice areas in Florida. Here’s a look at some of the additional case types we specialize in:

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

List of Top-Rated Burglary and Trespassing Attorneys Serving Florida

Choosing the right legal representation is crucial when facing charges of burglary or trespassing. Our team of dedicated attorneys is here to guide you through every step of the process, ensuring you’re well-informed and prepared for what lies ahead.

  • John Vallillo: Known for his meticulous approach to case preparation and defense, John Vallillo is a trusted name in burglary and trespassing defense, offering personalized and effective legal representation.
  • Joe Easton: With a focus on challenging evidence and securing favorable outcomes, Joe Easton’s commitment to justice and client success in burglary and trespassing cases is unparalleled.
  • Joel Leppard: As the guiding force behind Leppard Law, Joel Leppard brings innovative strategies and a personal touch to each case, ensuring clients facing burglary and trespassing charges receive top-notch legal care.

Discover What Our Clients Are Saying

At Leppard Law, we pour our dedication and expertise into every case, and the positive feedback from our clients reflects our commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes. We’re proud to be recognized as one of Central Florida’s top-rated burglary and trespassing law firms.



Infographic depicting the words Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure

Ready to Defend Your Future? Contact Leppard Law Today

Being charged with burglary of an unoccupied structure can be a daunting experience, leaving you uncertain about your future. But you don’t have to face it alone. At Leppard Law: Burglary and Trespassing Defense Attorneys, we understand the gravity of your situation and are committed to providing the personalized and effective defense you deserve.

Our approach is simple yet powerful: treat every client like family, ensuring their rights are protected and their voice is heard. With a track record of success and a dedication to our clients that’s second to none, we’re here to help you navigate the complexities of your case with confidence and ease.

  • Your Case, Our Priority: From the moment you reach out to us, you become our top priority. Our team is dedicated to understanding every aspect of your case and crafting a defense strategy tailored to your unique circumstances.
  • Experience on Your Side: Our attorneys bring decades of combined experience to the table, including insights from former prosecutors. This gives us a unique advantage in defending your rights and securing the best possible outcome for your case.
  • Client-Centered Communication: We believe in clear, consistent communication. You’ll always be informed about the progress of your case and understand the strategies we’re employing on your behalf.
  • Technology-Driven Defense: Leveraging the latest in legal technology, we ensure that your defense is as efficient and effective as possible. Our tech-savvy approach means we’re always a step ahead.

Don’t let a charge define your future. With Leppard Law on your side, you have a team of dedicated, compassionate, and skilled attorneys ready to fight for you. Contact us today at 407-476-4111 to schedule your free consultation. Discover the difference of having a legal team that treats you like family and fights tirelessly for your rights.

“Your voice, our mission. From their bench to your defense, Leppard Law is here to provide the strength, dedication, and personalized legal representation you deserve.”

Awards and Recognitions

Our commitment to excellence has not gone unnoticed. Here are some of the awards we’ve proudly received:

Award Name Granting Organization Year Criteria Link
Listed among the “Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Orlando” Expertise 2024 Comprehensive evaluation Expertise
Listed among the “Best DUI Lawyers in Orlando” Expertise 2024 Professional excellence Expertise
Awesome Attorneys Orlando Orlando Family Magazine 2023 Reader and peer selection Orlando Family Magazine
Martindale Hubbell “Client Champion Platinum” Martindale Hubbell 2024 Exceptional client feedback Martindale Hubbell
SuperLawyers “Rising Star” SuperLawyers 2020 Peer recognition and professional achievement SuperLawyers

Legally Reviewed by Joe Easton

Expert Attorney

Legally reviewed by Joe Easton and the content team, this article reflects the firm’s 60 years of combined criminal defense expertise. Joe Easton, with his extensive experience and strategic prowess in DUI and criminal defense, offers more than just legal representation; he brings a commitment to turning legal challenges into triumphs. His approach, combining 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