Palm Beach Gardens Property Crimes Attorney

The offense of burglary is defined as the entering and remaining within a dwelling, building, or structure without consent and with the intent to commit another offense therein. Even if a person receives permission to enter the premises or there is an open entry to the public, once that permission has been retracted, then the person who remains on the property will be considered to have committed burglary. If you have been charged with a burglary offense, you should immediately contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss your case.

Prima Facie Evidence of a Person’s Intent to Burglarize

According to Florida Statute, with regards to burglary, intent is an important aspect of the crime. The act of burglary requires that a person has the intent of entering and remaining on the premises surreptitiously and without the permission of the owner. To show that there has been a prima facie (on its face or at first view) showing of intent, during criminal proceedings, proof must be admitted that shows that the person entered the building in a stealthy or surreptitious manner without the consent of the owner or occupant at the time. It will then be on the defendant to rebuke the prima facie evidence by putting forth rebuttal evidence that demonstrates the person either did not attempt to stealthily or surreptitiously enter the premises and/or that the owner/occupant granted permission to be on the premises.

Burglary in the First Degree, Second, and Third Degree

Burglary in the first degree requires that not only did the person attempt to stealthily and surreptitiously enter onto the premises without knowledge and permission from the owner/occupant, but that one(or more) of the following elements were present during the commission of the crime:

  • The offender made an assault and battery against a person lawfully on the premises;
  • The offender is armed or becomes armed within the building with a dangerous weapon or a form of explosives; or
  • The offender entered onto the premise and either caused damage to the property within and around the dwelling and building in excess of $1000 or used a motor vehicle whose purpose went beyond that of being used as a getaway car and during the commission of the offense the vehicle causes damage to the property.

Burglary in the second and third degree occurs where there is no assault or battery made on another person and the offender is not armed (nor becomes armed during the commission of the crime). The difference between the second and third degree relies on the type of property that is being burglarized. A second degree burglary is triggered when a dwelling, known also as a home, is burglarized regardless of whether or not the owner/occupant is home. However, a second degree burglary is also triggered where the structure or conveyance is entered and there is another person present inside. A third degree burglary occurs only in a structure or conveyance where the owner/occupant is not within the structure at the time.

Burglary During a State of Emergency

If the Governor has announced that the county is in a state of emergency and a burglary is committed during the state of emergency and the conditions of the state of emergency aid in the enablement of the burglary, the person may be found guilty of second degree burglary. State of emergencies arise during periods of power outages, civil unrest, curfews, evacuations, etc.

If you have been charged with burglary, please contact West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney William Wallshein for a confidential consultation.