At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., we represent people who have been charged with burglary and other crimes throughout the Tampa Bay region. Our theft crime lawyers are former assistant state attorneys who understand how prosecutors approach these cases and know how to build strong defenses for the people whom we represent. We work aggressively to fight criminal charges head-on, beginning by giving clients an honest assessment of their cases. Our St. Petersburg burglary attorneys also take pride in being available to clients around the clock. You deserve immediate access to an experienced attorney.Potential Penalties for Burglary
Burglary is essentially a type of home invasion. Florida law defines burglary as the entry of a dwelling or another structure – unless it is open to the public or the person is licensed to enter - with the intent to commit an offense inside it. The crime covers situations in which the person intends to hurt someone inside the dwelling or to steal items from the dwelling. Even when the place is publicly open or you are invited, you may be guilty of burglary if you stay surreptitiously or after you have been asked to leave if you do so with the intent to commit a crime.
The penalties for a burglary conviction vary based on the circumstances. A person who commits burglary without being armed and without also committing an assault or battery faces a second-degree felony charge. The crime is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and as much as $10,000 in fines. A person who is armed when they commit the crime, who commits an assault or battery during the burglary, or who causes more than $1,000 in damage to the structure or property inside it faces a first-degree felony charge. This may mean up to decades in prison and higher fines.Common Defenses in Burglary Cases
Because of the serious consequences that often come with a burglary conviction, it is vital that a person charged with this crime seek the assistance of an experienced burglary lawyer in the St. Petersburg area. There are a number of possible defenses that may be available in burglary cases, including laws limiting when and how police officers may search your person, your home, or your car for evidence of the crime. The state and federal constitutions generally require officers to have either a reasonable suspicion or probable cause, depending on the circumstances, to perform a search without a warrant. If the police do not play by those rules, any evidence that they obtain is likely to be kept out of court.
Intent is one of the biggest questions in many burglary cases. It is important to remember that the burden is at all times on prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. This involves proving that you entered the structure with the intent to commit a crime inside. If they are unable to provide this proof, you may be able to get the charges dropped, dismissed, or knocked down to a lesser offense, such as trespassing. So how can prosecutors prove what was going through your mind at the time? If you break into a house with a crowbar and then walk out with jewelry that is not yours, for example, that may be a clear sign that you intended to commit a crime in the house. Many other cases, however, involve more complicated circumstances. This is one reason why it is important to have a seasoned attorney by your side.Fight Your Charges with the Assistance of a Burglary Attorney in St. Petersburg
The team at Blake & Dorsten, P.A. is dedicated to fighting aggressively for defendants in burglary cases. We know the types of arguments that tend to be persuasive to judges and juries, and we can work tirelessly to gather evidence on your behalf. Our St. Petersburg burglary lawyers also assist people in Clearwater, Tampa, Sarasota, Brandon, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Bradenton, as well as other cities in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, and Lee Counties. Call us at (727) 286-6141 or contact us online to make a free appointment to discuss your case. We also are available to guide people who need a robbery attorney or representation in fighting similar types of charges.