How many times do I have to watch a movie or TV show where people come home to find out that their home has been broken into and their valuables stolen and they declare, “we’ve been robbed!” To criminal law practitioners this is so annoying! Why? Because it is obvious to us that these unfortunate folks were not the victims of a robbery, rather they were the victims of a burglary.
The Difference Between Burglary and Robbery
So what is burglary? How does it differ from robbery? And why should you care? Most commonly, burglary is defined as the breaking and entering into the dwelling of “another” coupled with the intent to commit a crime within that dwelling. Robbery involves the taking of one person’s property by the force of another. Acts we commonly refer to as mugging and purse snatching are forms of robbery.
The Elements of Burglary
All crimes have component parts called elements. The elements of burglary include the unlawful entry into the home and the crime committed inside the home. Be aware, burglary can occur in places other than a home. This is the distinction between burglary of a dwelling (home) and burglary of a structure (store, shed, chicken coop, etc.) or burglary of a conveyance (car, truck, RV). Burglarizing a home is a higher level of crime than the other types of burglary.
Burglary Without Theft
What most people don’t realize is that you can still have a burglary without theft. If someone breaks into a home in order to damage the home (criminal mischief), rape (sexual battery) or to commit assault or battery, these are still burglaries. You can be charged with both burglary and the specific crime committed inside the home in this circumstance. Burglary can be one of the most complex crimes to defend. These cases often include matters related to eyewitness identification, the admissibility of alleged confessions, permission to enter, and a host of others.
How Burglary Charges Can Rack Up Fast
In Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice, burglary is treated very seriously in our court system. Under our current sentencing framework in Florida, persons convicted of burglarizing a home are presumed to go to prison. It takes skilled legal representation to avoid such a fate. Locally, the most common burglary scenario typically involves a group of three to four young persons accused of testing door handles to see if a naive owner left their door unlocked. Because this crime is often committed over a period of time during which dozens of car doors are tested, a person can find themselves facing 10 to 20 counts of auto burglary from a single night of foolishness.
Contact Zimmerman and Zimmerman at (941) 364-8503 for a free consultation regarding your burglary charge in the Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice or North Port areas.