Burglary in West Palm Beach
In Florida, burglary refers to unauthorized entry into another’s structure, such as a residence, vehicle or business premises, for the purpose of committing unlawful activities therein. For example, if someone enters a home without permission to steal electronics, he or she has committed burglary. The defendant does not have to take property to be charged with burglary. He or she can be convicted of the crime for just trespassing.
Burglary can be classified as a first, second or third-degree felony. It is considered a first-degree felony if it is accompanied by battery, assault, deadly weapon possession, damage to a building by a motor vehicle or property damages worth more than $1000. It is punishable by up to a life sentence and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.
Burglaries that are charged as second and third-degree felonies involve lesser offenses. A home invasion where the offender does not have a dangerous weapon and does not commit battery or assault is considered a second-degree felony. It is punishable by up to a 15-year prison sentence and/or a maximum fine of $10,000. Offenses such as unauthorized entry into an unoccupied building or vehicle are prosecuted as third-degree felonies. They can carry a prison term of up to 5 years and/or a maximum fine of $5,000.
Additional elements in the course of burglary such as the use of burglary tools and cutting phone or power lines can result in additional charges. Burglary tools are instruments, weapons or articles that a person intends to use to commit burglary, such as screwdrivers, lock picks, and hammers.
Robbery in West Palm Beach
In Florida, robbery refers to the use of force, violence, or threat of violence to take a person’s property or money when the person is present. Unlike burglary, an offender does not have to be in a dwelling or building to commit this crime. Robbery can be committed in an open space such as a sidewalk.
Robbery is punishable by a mandatory minimum imprisonment of 10 years if the offender had a weapon, 20 years if a firearm was discharged and up to a life sentence if the victim sustained severe bodily injury. It can be prosecuted as robbery by sudden snatching, carjacking or home invasion robbery.
Robbery by sudden snatching
This involves taking someone’s property or money while he or she becomes aware of the offender’s intentions. Taking someone’s property out of a bag without him being aware of the theft may not be taken to be robbery until he becomes aware of the theft. It is considered a second-degree felony if the offender was carrying a weapon. Otherwise, the offense is a third-degree felony.
This is taking a vehicle from a person with the intention of temporarily or permanently depriving him or her of the vehicle. It is always a first-degree felony.
Home invasion robbery
This involves unlawful entry into a dwelling to commit a robbery. It is always regarded as a first-degree felony.
If you have been charged with burglary or robbery, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.