Recently in Burglary Crimes in Jacksonville Category

Man arrested in a string of St. Johns County burglaries, police say more charges could be on way

March 28, 2014

Police arrested a St. Johns County man on several charges following a string of car burglaries and a report from a woman that she woke up to an intoxicated man standing in her doorway. A 22-year-old St. Johns County man was arrested last week, charged with crimes ranging from burglary to a dwelling on down to disorderly intoxication, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police were investigating one car burglary about 3 a.m., when they saw a light go on in another vehicle in the neighborhood, the newspaper reported. Once an officer moved toward the second vehicle, the man ran away, the newspaper reported. He was caught after a convenience store clerk reported a rowdy customer and told police where he went, the newspaper reported.

The most serious charge so far is burglary to an unoccupied dwelling, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. The car burglary charges are third-degree felonies with a maximum penalty of five years in state prison. One victim reported that three of her cars were burglarized, and each of those St. Johns County Theft Charges can be filed separately as an individual charge. The charges can add up quickly in a St. Johns County Theft Case like this and police are asking for other potential victims to come forward, which could certainly lead to more charges. Legally, one night of someone running around a neighborhood getting into 10 vehicles could bring charges that could result in 50 years in state prison. Now, a sentence like that is unlikely, but the charges that many associate with teen-agers can have more serious penalties than many people might think.

Car burglaries can even become second-degree felonies if there is a person in the vehicle at the time of the crime - whether the suspect knows it or not when he or she breaks into the vehicle. In many St. Johns County Theft Cases, prosecutors may look at a pretrial diversion program, which could result in the charges being dropped if the defendant meets a variety of conditions. Those offers are typically only on the table for people with little to no criminal record. The defendant in this St. Johns County Theft Case does have a record, but mostly for traffic violations, so some sort of sentence may be offered, though one condition may be some sort of drug or alcohol treatment, given that he was also charged with disorderly intoxication. Our St. Johns County Theft Attorney has represented hundreds of people charged with a range of theft charges, from misdemeanors on up to felony burglary and robbery charges, and will thoroughly investigate the case against you or your loved one.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our St. Johns County Theft Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Police looking for woman suspected in a string of burglaries to Jacksonville vehicles

January 24, 2014

Jacksonville police are asking for the public's help in finding a woman detectives believe is responsible for a series of automobile burglaries in a Westside neighborhood. Police say they believe Bresha Harris either pawned or attempted to sell various items that were stolen from cars and trucks at the end of last year, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. She has not been charged, but would likely be facing at least 20 years in prison if convicted.

She would likely be facing a third-degree felony for a burglary to a motor vehicle and a second-degree felony for dealing in stolen property in this Jacksonville Theft Case. Third-degree felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison while a second-degree felony has a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison. And while the two terms are often used interchangeably in Jacksonville Theft Cases, there is a huge distinction between a burglary and a robbery. A burglary in Duval County is taking something from a structure or place - whether that's a home, a business, a car, etc. A robbery in Jacksonville is taking something directly from a person, with the real or perceived threat of violence if the victim does not comply. All Jacksonville Theft Crimes are serious, but burglary often carries less time in prison, while someone convicted in an armed robbery could receive up to life in prison.

The thinking is a robbery puts human life in immediate danger. So it also makes sense in burglary cases that the charge, felony degree and, ultimately, length of sentence if a defendant pleads or is found guilty, is determined by whether people are present. For example, if someone is accused of breaking into a vehicle and there happens to be a person inside the vehicle at the time, that third-degree felony becomes a second-degree felony. And, any Jacksonville Theft Case that is a burglary from breaking into a person's home automatically becomes a second-degree felony. Cases involving people are obviously more serious and burglaries to vehicles are, unfortunately, a dime a dozen in Jacksonville and in every major city across the country. In many cases, suspects are not caught and police typically don't have the resources to make the cases a top priority.

These Jacksonville Theft Crimes that Harris is a suspect in do seem like small potatoes for police to issue a news release, in hopes that the media will plaster her face on their websites and broadcasts. There are two likely reasons for this move by police. The first is they suspect her of something more serious, but they know they can arrest her in this Jacksonville Theft Case while detectives investigate the more serious case to the point they are ready to bring charges. Second, when people are not used to the criminal justice system, a public plea from police such as this one can often be enough for the person to turn himself or herself in. In a situation like this Jacksonville Theft Case, it's important to speak with a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney once you know you are a suspect in a case. A Jacksonville Theft Attorney can advise you of your rights, the potential charges against you, and accompany you to turn yourself in and begin defending yourself against the charges.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Theft Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Man guides police to dozens of Jacksonville homes he says he broke into with a female companion

January 22, 2013

A recently released convicted felon pulled over by a Baker County deputy for not wearing a seatbelt confessed to police that he was breaking into homes in Baker and Duval counties, including 50 to 60 homes in Jacksonville. Police stopped Charles Wayne Cope last week, recognized his car as being similar to the one witnesses saw near several Baker County break-ins and spotted evidence in the car which police said was enough to detain Cope and his passenger, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police then searched the Jacksonville home of the passenger, Julie James Driggers, and police said they found items related to each of six Baker County burglaries.

Cope then agreed to work with Jacksonville Burglary detectives to explain the crimes he committed there, no doubt in an effort to curry favor with the state and try to reduce his eventual sentence. Prosecutors will have to sort through how many crimes to eventually charge Cope with, but he is potentially looking at a variety of sentences that could stack up to a couple of hundred years in prison. Police said Cope and Driggers would knock on the front doors of homes and, if someone answered, pretend to be looking for a lost dog. If no one answered, they would break in and steal jewelry, electronics and other valuables, the newspaper reported.

Driggers has denied any involvement in the break-ins, police said, but Cope appears to be doing enough talking to bring both of them down. Driggers is a nine-time convicted felon who, at 35, has already spent about 12 years behind bars, according to the newspaper report. And while cooperation can be a huge factor in reducing one's sentence, the court is also mindful of considering the source of the information. Cope would have first-hand knowledge of these Jacksonville Theft Crimes cases and would be helping solve the crimes. However, police said he has been ripping the gold out of jewelry and selling it, which means the goods he stole have already been destroyed. And, will the court decide to reward Cope and go easy on him, when he's established a pattern of behavior that would lead the court to believe he'd end up doing the same thing again if and when he is released? He had been out of prison less than a year before this latest crime spree of Jacksonville Burglary Crimes cases, according to the newspaper report.

The prosecution of Driggers by the Duval County State Attorney will be a completely different case, especially because she appears to have no previous criminal record, the newspaper reported. A criminal history can often be far more important in a sentencing that someone with a lengthy rap sheet driving police around to his various crimes, so the actual sentences in these Jacksonville Theft cases, if they get that far, will be interesting to watch.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a Free Consultation. Our Jacksonville Theft Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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.

Armed burglar shot in one house, held at gunpoint in another before police arrive

August 10, 2012

A Jacksonville burglary suspect picked the wrong two houses to break into last week in Arlington and it got him a trip to the hospital on his way to the Duval County jail. Alejandro Antonio Carlson used a knife to break into a home last week at 3:30 a.m., but when the 33-year-old homeowner heard her dog barking, she went downstairs and fired a round of birdshot at him, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Bloodied and injured, Carlson broke into another home, telling the women inside "they're after me" and urging her to call police. The woman's husband, a senior citizen who had triple bypass a year ago, held Carlson at gunpoint in a side room of the house until police arrived. Carlson was taken to the hospital and is now in jail, charged with Jacksonville armed burglary and assault in Jacksonville. Neither the woman who shot Carlson with birdshot, nor the man who held him at gunpoint will be charged with a crime. Given the publicity to the Stand Your Ground laws in Florida, many people might first think that law is the reason they are justified in their actions.

But it's the Castle Doctrine that protects both homeowners in this case. It's essentially the original Stand Your Ground law, but it only applies to one's home. If someone breaks into your home and there is a threat of danger, a homeowner can take reasonable and necessary actions to remove the person from their home. The law has been on the books for centuries and Stand Your Ground basically extended the right to respond with deadly force to more situations, including those outside of the home.
In this case, Carlson was clearly not invited into either home, and was there in the middle of the night after using a knife to enter the home. In the second home, he pushed a door against the woman when she tried to corralled him and then shook off her husband who tried to grab him, the newspaper reported. While the news reports don't indicate that he intentionally tried to injure either of the homeowners and he tossed the knife on the kitchen counter after entering the second home, the husband is still well within his rights to keep a gun aimed at him until police can respond to the scene.

Carlson did not get out of either home with any cash or any of the occupants' belongings, but the fact that he bruised the arms of a 68-year-old woman inside of her own home presents an uphill climb in terms of negotiations. If you or a loved one needs a Burglary Attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County violent crimes lawyer is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Eleven Clay County teens charged with felony armed burglary in Fleming Island break-in

Prosecutors will have an interesting decision to make this week on 11 Fleming Island High School students charged with ransacking an unlocked home during Memorial Day weekend. All of the boys are 16 and 17, most of them football players at Fleming Island, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Most are charged with Florida armed burglary, a first-degree felony publishable by up to life in prison. That would be if the boys are charged as adults. And that's where the decision will come in. The authority lies with the prosecutor's office and would exponentially increase the amount of prison time the teens could be facing. The charges stem from a Memorial Day weekend incident where a family accidentally left their home unlocked while in Alabama, the newspaper reported. Police said the boys may have known the family was going to be out of town. The teens are accused of ransacking the home and stealing three guns, a gun safe, gas cards, electronics and golf clubs, the newspaper reported. The loss was estimated at over $5,000. A neighbor said they saw several cars parked near the home one night over the weekend, the newspaper reported.

Information on past criminal records for the boys was not reported by the local media, but that will likely be a huge factor in whether they are charged as adults. There are various types of juvenile sanctions that can be levied in a case like this, from time in a juvenile facility on down. All are geared with an eye on rehabilitation and helping the offender become a productive member of society once the sentence is up. That would not be the case if the boys ended up charged as adults and serving time in adult prison. They could be stuck in prison for decades. And while the charges are very serious, it could be argued they sound more severe than what actually happened. Armed burglary can be a bit of a misnomer. The charge makes it sound like a person had a gun or a knife when they committed a burglary. In many cases, including this one, that is not true. If someone takes a gun during a burglary in Clay County, that can be charged as an armed burglary. The only thing that makes it an armed burglary is if the person accused of the burglary was armed at some point during the crime. And if that weapon is a gun, as it is in this case, the crime is punishable by up to life in prison.

The number one job of a Clay County criminal Juvenile Defense Attorney in this case is to try to keep the case in juvenile court. Our Clay County juvenile crimes lawyer has represented hundreds of teens who teetered on the edge between juvenile and adult court. Oftentimes, starting the discussions early with prosecutors and building as much evidence as possible that shows this was an isolated incident can be beneficial. If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Fleming Island or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm, PA at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Clay County Armed Burglary Attorney is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Man fights off intruder in Jacksonville home

February 15, 2012

A Jacksonville man bloodied an intruder he found standing in front of his television one morning last week, shortly after his girlfriend had left for work. The resident was in the bathroom of his Westside Jacksonville home and, when he walked into the living room, he saw a man standing there, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The resident hit the suspect from behind, knocking the intruder into the television. A fight ensued and the would-be-burglar smashed a lamp on the resident's head, giving the suspect the time he needed to make a run for it, the newspaper reported. The resident told police to look for a man who was bleeding, but no reports of an arrest have surfaced.

The resident is not expected to face any charges, highlighting the laws that allow people to defend themselves. If someone is threatening you, especially in your home, the law allows you the right to protect yourself. The protections expanded further several years ago with the so-called "Stand Your Ground" law that allows people to respond with force, even lethal force, if a reasonable person would believe their life is in danger. Now there are limitations in the law and this isn't the wild, wild west. Some people are under the impression that if someone takes three steps onto their property they can come out with guns a blazin'. Not true. The key is the threat. In this case, according to the police reports, there was clearly someone in the house that was not invited or permitted to be there. He was standing in front of a television, likely one he was planning to steal. The resident has every right to protect himself and to try to get the intruder out of his home.
Self-defense cases can be tricky. At the end of the day, it could be up to a jury deciding how much the person was actually threatened and what they would have done in a similar situation.

If you need a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm, PA at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County violent crimes lawyer is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Over $67,000 Worth of Rum Stolen from Jacksonville Warehouse

August 9, 2011

According to an article in the Florida Times Union, a cargo container containing 960 cases of Bacardi rum and a trailer was stolen last Friday from a warehouse. Police say the thieves cut the wire on the fence, broke open the containers, and drove the trailer away from the site.

The people who committed this theft could be charged with several crimes in Jacksonville, Florida. The first obvious crime is Grand Theft, which can be found in Florida Statute 812.014 (1)(c). A Grand Theft in Jacksonville is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. I order to be convicted of a Grand Theft in Florida, the state attorney must prove that the suspects took the property of another with the intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the owner of that property. In order to be considered "grand", the value of the property must be over $300.00.

The suspects could also be arrested for Burglary to a Structure in Florida. Since this was a warehouse complex, it is not considered a dwelling or a conveyance. Under Florida burglary law, a "structure" is defined as a building of any kind which has a roof over it, together with the curtilage. Curtilage is the land or yard adjoining a structure that is within an enclosure. If the suspects entered the warehouse yard with the intent to commit a crime therein, they can be charged with burglary in Jacksonville. Burglary to a Structure in Florida is a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

If you have been charged with a burglary in Jacksonville, contact a Jacksonville Burglary Attorney to discuss your case and your rights. At Mussallem & Associates, P.A., our Jacksonville Criminal Attorneys have represented hundreds of people charged with theft crimes in Jacksonville and we are here to help you!