Burglary with Assault or Battery Charges in Florida
In Florida, burglary-related offenses constitute “violent crimes” if they involve an assault or battery. Pursuant to Florida Statute § 810.02(1)(b)(1)-(2)(c), “burglary” “means:
- Entering a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the defendant is licensed or invited to enter; or
- Notwithstanding a licensed or invited entry, remaining in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance:
- Surreptitiously, with the intent to commit an offense therein;
- After permission to remain therein has been withdrawn, with the intent to commit an offense therein; or
- To commit or attempt to commit a forcible felony…”
Under Florida Statute § 810.02(2)(a), “[b]urglary is a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life imprisonment …, if, in the course of committing the offense, the offender … [m]akes an assault or battery upon any person.” Burglary involving assault or battery is a Level 8 offense under the Florida Criminal Punishment Code.
In these instances, if the jury finds that the defendant committed the crime of burglary, it must also determine if the prosecution has proven beyond a reasonable doubt whether, during the commission of the burglary, the defendant either (i) assaulted a person through making a threat through word or act with the obvious ability to pursue that threat; or (ii) battered a person through touching or striking them against his or her will.
Musca Law: Attorneys for Burglary with Assault or Battery in Florida
If you are facing charges of burglary with assault or battery, contact the seasoned Florida criminal defense attorneys at Musca Law today to learn more about your legal rights and options. We assist clients facing charges of the most serious violent offenses under Florida law, including burglary charged as a first-degree felony with the potential for life imprisonment. Contact Musca Law now at (888) 484-5057 to obtain the zealous representation you need to effectively fight your charges.
Legal Defenses to Burglary with Assault or Battery Pursuant to Florida Statute § 810.02(2)(a)
One affirmative defense that may apply in one’s burglary with assault or battery case is that the defendant met his or her burden of production in establishing that he or she had a license or invitation to enter the premises, or the premises were open to the public. If consent is the sole defense pursued in one’s case, the jury must be instructed accordingly. If consent is contested in a case, the prosecution may choose to instruct the jury that the entry was not valid if the defendant gained access to the premises by trick, fraud or deceit. Further, the prosecution may also provide the jury with an instruction that a defendant can be found guilty of burglary if the individual entered a non-public area of a premises that was open to the public with the intent to commit a crime therein.
The defense may also assert as an affirmative defense in one’s case that the prosecution brought forth insufficient evidence to prove that the defendant actually entered the home. A seasoned Florida criminal defense attorney can provide eyewitness identification, DNA, or fingerprints to demonstrate that the burglary charge in this regard cannot be sufficiently established by the prosecution. In essence, your Florida burglary defense lawyer may assert that a burglary was not committed by the defendant, and that the defendant did not assist another in perpetrating a burglary offense. In these cases, simply being a bystander does not give rise to a crime.
A further defense to burglary that the defense can raise is that the state has not sufficiently established that the defendant had the requisite intent to commit an offense once in the premises. Specifically, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person committed burglary with the intent to commit a crime. Prosecutors are often faced with challenges in proving intent as there is often no direct or positive proof to establish this element of burglary. Intent can, however, be established by circumstantial evidence brought forth by the prosecution.
To simplify the process for the prosecutor to establish the defendant’s guilt, the court may provide the instruction to the jury that they may infer that the defendant intended to commit an offense inside of the premises if the entering “was done stealthily and without the consent of the owner or occupant.” Even though the unlawful entering or remaining in a premises is proven by the prosecution, it does not mean that the defendant intended to commit a crime other than trespass or burglary.
Under Florida law, to be considered burglary, the entry necessary need not involve the whole body of the defendant. Instead, sufficient evidence might exist if it is proven by the prosecution that the defendant, with the intent to commit a crime, extends any part of his or her body into the structure or conveyance, such as an arm or leg.
Contact Musca Law Now and Protect Your Life and Liberty!
Facing the criminal charges of burglary with assault or battery in Florida can be downright frightening. Specifically, these charges can be extremely overwhelming, but it is important to understand that you do not have to face these accusations alone. Our attorneys are skilled, experienced, tenacious, and relentless when it comes to defending our clients. Our firm’s attorneys are among The National Trial Lawyers – Top 100 Trial Lawyers, included in the 2012 Florida Super Lawyers® for criminal defense, and boast 10.0 Superb Avvo ratings.
The experienced Florida criminal defense attorneys at Musca Law are ready to stand up for you and your rights. We will work with you to develop the best defense strategy for your case. We offer a free and completely confidential consultation to our clients. Contact us today at (888) 484-5057 to speak with one of our attorneys and to learn how we can help.