Burglary of a Structure
Burglary of a structure occurs when somebody goes into a structure illegally, intending to commit a crime inside, or stays inside after permission to stay is withdrawn or while surreptitiously intending to commit a crime. If you are charged with burglary of a structure, or with a similar crime like burglary of a dwelling, you should hire a St. Petersburg burglary defense attorney. At Hanlon Law, we strongly believe in the rights of the accused, and we provide a vigorous defense to clients accused of burglary.Burglary of a Structure
To secure a conviction for burglary of a structure, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you entered a structure while intending to perpetrate a crime within it. Alternatively, the prosecutor must show that you stayed in the structure surreptitiously, after an invited or licensed entry, while intending to commit a crime, or that you stayed after permission to stay was withdrawn, while intending to commit a crime, or that you entered to commit a forcible felony. By law, a structure is any kind of temporary or permanent building with a roof, along with any surrounding curtilage.
If you had a firearm while committing burglary of a structure, or you assaulted or battered somebody in the course of committing burglary of a structure, you can be charged with a first-degree felony. A conviction of a first-degree felony can result in a sentence of life imprisonment. You could also face a first-degree felony charge if you committed burglary of a structure and used a motor vehicle to help in committing the offense, thereby damaging the structure, except when the motor vehicle was only used as a getaway car. Similarly, you could face a first-degree felony charge if you damaged the structure in an amount worth more than $1,000.
Burglary of a structure can be charged as a felony of the second degree if there was no firearm involved, there was no assault or battery involved, and there was somebody else in the structure at the time that you entered or stayed. A second-degree felony charge of burglary of an occupied structure can be punished by a maximum of 15 years’ imprisonment, 15 years’ probation, and a $10,000 fine.
Second-degree burglary can also be charged if the offense that you intended to commit within the structure was theft of a controlled substance. For example, if your partner in drug trafficking had a falling out with you, and you broke into his warehouse to steal methamphetamines that you had previously been planning to distribute together, you could be charged with second-degree burglary of a structure. Separate judgments and sentences would be imposed for burglary with intent to steal controlled substances and for any charges of possession of controlled substances or trafficking in controlled substances.
If the structure was unoccupied at the time of the burglary, you may be charged with a third-degree felony. You could be punished with a maximum of five years’ imprisonment, five years’ probation, and a $5,000 fine.
Defenses that a St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer may be able to raise include consent or license to enter. There are situations in which people are charged with burglary, even though they believed that they had consent to enter, or situations in which an invitation had been given and never completely withdrawn. In other cases, it may be possible to argue that you were a bystander to the burglary, rather than an accomplice or a principal of it. Sometimes the assumption is that a person who watches the burglary was acting as a lookout. However, simply being present with someone committing burglary is not enough to charge you with burglary unless you consciously did something to encourage or help perpetrate the burglary. Another possible defense is that you had innocent reasons for entering the structure, such as finding a place to sleep.Discuss Your Case with a Compassionate St. Petersburg Attorney
Burglary of a structure is a serious charge that warrants seeking help from a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. If you are looking for help in fighting charges of burglary of a structure in St. Petersburg, Hanlon Law may be able to represent you. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has been providing dedicated criminal defense representation since 1994. You can call Hanlon Law at 727.897.5413 or complete our online form.