According to Florida Statute § 812.135(1) - Home-Invasion Robbery, "Home-invasion robbery" is defined as a robbery that happens when an offender enters a residence with the purpose of committing a robbery and does perpetuate a theft.
A study conducted by the Department of Justice reports that approximately 28% of home-invasion burglaries happened while a household member was present. In 7% of all home-invasion burglaries, a type of violent victimization occurred to a household member. Violent victimization is defined by the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) as an act of violence on a person including, robbery, rape/sexual assault, aggravated assault, and simple assault.
Is "Home-invasion robbery" a Felony in the State of Florida?
Under Florida Statute § 812.135(2)(b), if an offender was committing home-invasion robbery with a non-deadly weapon, the offender commits a first-degree felony. According to Florida Statute § 812.135(2)(c), an offender commits a felony of the first degree when the offender commits a home-invasion robbery even if the offender doesn't use or possess a firearm, deadly weapon, or other weapons, during the home-invasion robbery. In the State of Florida, if an individual uses a firearm or another deadly weapon to commit a home-invasion robbery, and is apprehended by law enforcement, the defendant will face a felony of the first-degree.
Legal Defenses to Florida Home Invasion Burglary Charges
Every defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. In a criminal case involving home invasion burglary charges, the prosecution for the state must prove several key elements of their case against a defendant, and beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors will be required to prove that the defendant entered the home of the accuser, that the defendant intended to commit a robbery at the moment of unauthorized entry into the home of the accuser, and that the defendant actually committed the crime of robbery while inside the accuser's residence. A successful defense weakens the prosecution's allegations and evidence to the point a jury or judge has some doubt in the arguments raised by the prosecution.
In many cases, a prosecutor may attempt to overcharge a defendant in order to strongarm the defendant into a plea deal for a lesser criminal offense. In many cases such as these, the defendant ends up "pleading down" his or her charge to the charge that the defendant should have originally been charged with. In a lot of these situations, it would be in the best interest of the defendant to retain a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in defending clients against home-invasion burglary charges. By hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney after a defendant has been overcharged in a criminal case, the defendant has a good chance of either have the case thrown out or beating the charges altogether.
At Musca Law, we provide aggressive representation while also maintaining a professional reputation within the legal community. This is important when selecting a private criminal defense attorney in your case. You will want legal representation that is known by prosecutors as being tough on behalf of his or her client but is also known for being mature, level-headed, and respectful to opposing counsel within the Justice Court System. This approach greatly benefits our clients.
The "No Intent" Defense – According to the U.S. Justice Department, approximately 30% of all home-invasion robberies occurred between individuals who know each other. The accused may be a friend, neighbor, family member, work colleague, or acquaintance. One possible defense to home-invasion robbery charges is what our law firm calls the "No Intent" Defense. Prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you entered the home with the intent to rob the accuser. If an accuser is someone the defendant knows, it might be successfully argued that the defendant did not intend to commit a robbery, but rather a disagreement ensued. As a result of the disagreement, the accuser and the accused had a misunderstanding about the ownership of some personal property. Therefore, the event that took place does not meet the legal standard of "home-invasion burglary", according to Florida Statute § 812.135.
The "False Accusation" Defense – As previously mentioned in the "No Intent Defense," many home-invasion burglary charges are brought by an individual who knows the defendant personally. In some cases, there might be a domestic element present in the case. For example, a defendant could have been arrested because of false allegations brought by a spouse who is attempting to gain a legal advantage in the midst of an emotional and explosive child custody case. If the defendant and the accuser know each other, there may be an opportunity to defend against the charges by alleging and demonstrating false allegations. Again, it is important to understand that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant entered the home unlawfully, intended to commit a burglary upon entry into the accuser's home and that the defendant committed the crime for robbery. In many domestic situations, there are several opportunities to punch holes into the prosecution's case. One of those opportunities is to counter the criminal charges by arguing the charges are false and were pressed by the accuser to gain a legal advantage in a pending divorce proceeding, child custody proceeding, or any other future civil legal case between the accuser and the accused.
The "Misidentification" Defense – Depending on the evidence submitted to the court by the prosecution, another potentially effective defense is called the "Misidentification" Defense. In this defense, a criminal defense attorney may successfully establish enough reasonable doubt for the judge or jury to find the defendant not guilty. In cases where individuals are suddenly subjected to tremendous amounts of trauma, fear, and anxiety, the accuser's ability to recall specific details of the robbery in a linear or complete way can be greatly diminished. An individual suffering from "shock" may also not process and recall important details such as a description of the robber. A skilled criminal defense attorney can uncover and exploit this weakness in the prosecutor's case in order to reduce criminal charges or to obtain a not guilty verdict on behalf of his or her client.
If you have been charged with a home-invasion robbery, it is essential that you speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to determine the best defense strategy given the unique set of circumstances in your case.
Penalties for Florida Home Invasion Robbery Charges
If a defendant is found guilty of "home-invasion robbery," the minimum mandatory prison sentence is 34½ months. If the alleged crime was committed without the use of a weapon, the maximum punishments for "home-invasion robbery" are:
- 30 years in prison
- 30 years on probation
- $10,000 in fines
If the defendant is found guilty of committing a "home-invasion robbery" using a firearm or another weapon, the minimum mandatory prison sentence is 66 months, and the maximum penalty could be life in prison. If you or someone you love has been accused of committing a home invasion robbery, call Musca Law for your free case review. Our attorneys help our clients formulate a well-prepared, reasonable, and aggressive legal defense.