Articles Posted in Burglary Crimes in Jacksonville

A jury needed just 25 minutes to find a Jacksonville man not guilty of two serious felony charges in connection with an alleged robbery.  The man was accused of breaking into a woman’s home, demanding money and then beating her, according to a report from News4Jax. The woman said she knew who the man was because he used to mow her lawn for her, the television station reported. The man was charged eight felonies, but he went to trial last month on by far the two most serious charges — home invasion robbery and burglary with assault. Both of these Jacksonville Theft Charges are first-degree felonies with a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison on each charge.

The jury, however, did not feel the state had proven the two charges against him beyond a reasonable doubt and found him not guilty. But that’s not the end of the road for the defendant. He is still facing several felony charges in connection with the same incident, the television station reported. Those charges include robbery by sudden snatching, burglary to a structure and four counts of uttering forged bills. Each charge is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison. If convicted of all six charges, he could be looking at a total of 30 years in prison, should the judge choose to issue consecutive sentences.

In many Jacksonville Felony Cases where a person is facing multiple and varying charges, the state will split them up into different cases. In this Jacksonville Theft Case, the man is accused of identity theft after the physical theft, so that’s likely why the first two were tried separately. It’s unclear to date whether the state plans on taking the cases to trial again or if plea negotiations will be opened again. From the defendant’s perspective, he likely feels there’s a reason he was found not guilty last month and may be unwilling to plead guilty to anything. On the state side, there is a person who says she was robbed and victimized, and this may be a case prosecutors feel strongly about taking to trial.  Cases like this Duval County Theft Case illustrate the importance of having several layers of the criminal justice system before someone is sentenced to prison. When the headlines started in this case, it was essentially assumed the man was guilty and that he committed this series of violent crimes. But a jury of his peers decided otherwise. That is why cases are not tried in the media or decided by detectives.  Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney has taken dozens of cases to trial and will work with you or your loved one to help determine the best way to fight the charges that you or your loved one are facing.

Clay County police arrested two men they believe are connected to more than 50 burglaries from vehicles around Clay County. Both men, ages 18 and 19, are facing decades behind bars because of the charges. Police said there were 52 burglaries that occurred between November and December, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Most of the cars were not locked and some of the items stolen included a handgun, the newspaper reported.

One man was charged with 14 counts of burglary from a vehicle and four counts of grand theft, the newspaper reported. The other is facing 10 counts of burglary from a vehicle, two grand theft charges and a petit theft. With the exception of the petit theft, all of the charges involved in this Clay County Theft Case are felonies. In fact, all of the charges are third-degree felonies with a maximum sentence of five years in state prison on each count. So, technically, the first defendant is facing 90 years in state prison and the second is facing up to 60 years in prison and one year in county jail for the misdemeanor. The maximums would be if the judge chose to sentence the defendant consecutively, stacking one sentence on top of the other. In most cases, judges allow the sentences to be served at the same time – called concurrent sentences. But the cumulative penalty is important because it shows just how quickly the penalties can add up in Clay County Theft Cases. For example, let’s say 10 of these burglaries occurred in one night, but 10 different cars were broken into. Prosecutors can charge 10 different counts of burglary, with a potential five-year sentence for each.

Theft charges and potential penalties are based primarily on the value of the items a person is accused of stealing. Most charges in this Clay County Theft Case are burglary from a vehicle. The grand theft counts come in when the value of the property stolen is more than $300. That’s the threshold for someone becoming a felony. In burglary cases, the charges are also enhanced if someone is in the vehicle at the time of the burglary and the same is true if the break-in occurs at a home or business. The long list of charges and maximum penalties can often be used to apply pressure for a plea deal in Clay County Theft Cases. In this case, with two defendants, the state may be working the two against each other for information to solve more of the cases. Charges appear to be filed in less than half of the burglaries police say occurred, so there may be more coming if there isn’t a plea deal in this Clay County Theft Case.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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