Some friends were invited to visit the home of other acquaintances to discuss personal issues. The homeowner took offense with one of the visitor’s opinions and asked the individual to leave. The homeowner then contacted Police and lied that the visitors broke into her home. The Police arrested the friends and charged them with Burglary of an Occupied Dwelling and Intimidate/Threatening a Witness/Informant.
Burglary of an Occupied Dwelling
Under Florida Statute 810.02, a burglary can be defined as entering or remaining in a structure or dwelling with the intent to commit an offense. A structure can be any type of building that is either temporary or permanent. A dwelling is defined as a building of any kind that has a roof over it that houses individuals at night during sleep.
Burglary is a serious offense that is a felony. The defendant could be charged with either a first, second, or third-degree felony. The defendant does not need to enter the house with their entire body. Any body part that has been extended into the building is enough to call it a complete crime.
- A first-degree felony will be charged if there was assault or battery done to any person in the burglary. This also includes the use of explosives. If a vehicle was used to assist in the crime, other than a getaway vehicle, the felony is considered first-degree. The offender may spend life in prison.
- A second-degree felony will be charged when another person is or is not in the dwelling when the offender enters. In a structure, if there is another person in it when the offender enters, a second-degree felony will also be charged. A $10,000 fine will be charged, along with up to 15 years in prison or probation.
- A third-degree felony will be charged if the offender enters a structure and there is not any other person in it when they entered. This has up to 5 years in prison or 5 years probation with a $5,000 fine.
Penalties for burglary are based on different circumstances. The manner of the offense is taken into consideration, as is if the offender used any type of weapons. The type of dwelling/structure can even make a difference in the case.
Defenses to Burglary of an Occupied Dwelling in Florida
A defendant can use many different defenses to burglary of an occupied dwelling in Florida. These defenses can include:
- Lack of proof
- Mistaken identity
- Innocent/non-criminal intent
- Consent/invitation/Permission to enter or stay at the permission of the owner
- Legitimate presence
- Mistake of facts about the whereabouts
- Implied permission
- Inadequate withdrawal of permission to be there
- Mistaken belief of permission
RESULTS: The Defendants retained Musca Law to fight the serious felony charges against them. The defense immediately contacted the State to obtain evidence and statements gathered by the arresting Officer. Prior to trial, the pseudo-victim came clean and filed a Drop Charge Statement with the Prosecution. The State then dropped all charges against the Clients.