What has to be proven in a Florida Burglary charge?

November 18, 2012

As a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, I have represented many people charged with all kinds of Burglary crimes. A burglary is committed when someone enters someone else's home, car or structure with the intent to commit a crime inside. In most Duval County burglary cases, the crime that is actually committed is a theft. People usually "break into" places to steal something inside. In order to prove a Florida burglary, the prosecutor does not have to prove that the suspect broke something. In some cases, just touching the outside of a building with the intent to commit a crime inside is considered burglarizing the building.

A recent case out of Tampa, Florida, deals with whether or not the state attorney proved that two juveniles "intended" to commit a crime in a house after the teenagers kicked open a front door. The two teenagers stepped onto the front porch of a house and kicked the door, breaking the frame and opening the door wide open. The owner of the home was inside when this happened. Both children were charged with Burglary to a Dwelling, which is a felony in Florida. Both took their case to trial and at the trial, they testified that kicking the door was a game they played. The Hillsborough County judge did not believe the story and found both children guilty. The burglary charges were appealed to a higher court. The Florida Appeals Court disagreed with the lower court judge. The Appeals court found that, at the time they teenagers kicked the door in, the state attorney did not prove they had the specific intent to commit a crime once inside the house. There was no showing that the kids wanted to do anything at all inside the home, except scare the poor woman inside. For that reason, the Appeals court reversed the ruling and the teenagers were not found guilty of the burglary.

In any criminal case, whether in Duval, Clay or Nassau County, the prosecution must prove ALL elements of the crime beyond all reasonable doubt. If one element is not proven, the whole crime falls. That is why it is so important to have an Experienced Jacksonville Trial Attorney on your side. Our Duval County Criminal Lawyer, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, has successfully represented thousands of people facing criminal charges in Northeast Florida. Contact The Mussallem Law Firm today for a Free Consultation.