Contact us for a free consultation 813 496 7778 Message Us

Burglary in Florida

A burglary charge is a serious charge in Florida. Burglary is a felony offense, under the Florida Burglary Statute, § 810.02, Fl. Stat. The consequences of a burglary conviction can be severe including prison sentences, even for first time offenders.

The minimum and maximum sentences for a burglary conviction will depend on the circumstances of the crime. Some of these include whether the burglary was committed in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance, whether it was occupied or unoccupied, whether the burglary was committed with an assault or battery, or while armed, and what your intent was when inside.

More information on the types of burglary charges, sentencing structure, best and worst outcomes, and defenses can found below.

If you have been charged with burglary in Florida, it is important to get the information you need to know about your specific charges so that you can make informed decisions going forward.

Burglary Lawyer Tampa Bay

The consequences of being arrested and convicted of burglary can be serious. If you have been accused of burglary, it is important to hire a criminal defense lawyer that you trust to protect your rights, provide assistance in navigating the court process, and to help you achieve the best result possible depending on the specific facts of your case.

Attorney Chris Beardslee is an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer serving the Tampa Bay area. He is dedicated to not only providing the best legal advice and defense for your case, but also to making sure that you are informed about the process and your legal options along the way.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your case or any current charges, our office is happy to help.

Contact The Law Office of Chris Beardslee for a free consultation today. Call 813-496-7778, or fill out a contact form and we will get in touch with you.


What is the definition of Burglary in Florida?

Under § 810.02(1), Florida Statutes (2022), burglary means:

  • Entering a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein,
    • Unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the defendant is licensed or invited to enter; OR
  • Even if licensed or invited to enter, remaining in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance:
    • Surreptitiously (i.e., stealthily), with the intent to commit an offense therein;
    • After permission to remain therein has been withdrawn, with the intent to commit an offense therein; or
    • To commit or attempt to commit a forcible felony.

What is Burglary of a Conveyance in Florida?

Section 810.011(3), Florida Statutes defines conveyance as any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad vehicle or car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car.

“To enter a conveyance” includes taking apart any portion of the conveyance.

What is Burglary of a Structure in Florida?

Structure is defined statutorily as a building of any kind, either temporary or permanent, which has a roof over it, together with the curtilage thereof. § 810.011(1), Florida Statutes.

Curtilage generally means an area of land attached to a building, immediately surrounding and forming one enclosure with it.

What is Burglary of a Dwelling in Florida?

Dwelling is defined as a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether such building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night, together with the curtilage thereof. § 810.011(2), Florida Statutes.

Again, with curtilage generally meaning, an area of land attached to a building, immediately surrounding and forming one enclosure with it.

What does “in the course of committing” mean in the context of committing a burglary?

An act is committed “in the course of committing” the crime if it occurs in an attempt to commit the burglary or in flight after the attempt or commission.


What are the types of burglary charges in Florida?

Burglary is a felony offense in Florida. Depending on the circumstances of the crime, you can be charged with:

  • First Degree Felony Burglary
    • Burglary with assault and battery
    • Armed burglary
    • Burglary causing certain types of damage
  • Second Degree Felony Burglary
    • Burglary of a dwelling (occupied or unoccupied)
    • Burglary of an occupied structure
    • Burglary of an occupied conveyance
    • Burglary of an authorized emergency vehicle
  • Third Degree Felony Burglary
    • Burglary of an unoccupied structure
    • Burglary of an unoccupied conveyance

Further information on the different types of burglary charges are provided below.


First Degree Felony Burglary in Florida

This is the most serious level of offense charged for committing a burglary. You can be convicted of a first degree felony for burglary if an assault or battery took place, you were armed, or caused certain damages to the building or property within.

Punishment and Sentences for Burglary (1st Degree):

Felony burglary of the first degree is punishable by a sentence of up to life in prison or as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

§ 810.02(2), Florida Statutes

Burglary with Assault or Battery

If, in the course of committing the burglary, the offender makes an assault or battery upon any person, it is a 1st degree felony in Florida.

§ 810.02(2)(a), Florida Statutes

Armed Burglary

If, in the course of committing the burglary, the offender is or becomes armed within the dwelling, structure, or conveyance, with explosives or a dangerous weapon, it is a 1st degree felony in Florida.

§ 810.02(2)(b), Florida Statutes

Burglary Causing Damage to Dwelling or Structure or Property Within

It is a 1st degree felony in Florida, if in the course of committing the burglary, the offender enters an occupied or unoccupied dwelling or structure, and:

  • Uses a motor vehicle as an instrumentality, other than merely as a getaway vehicle, to assist in committing the offense, and thereby damages the dwelling or structure; OR
  • Causes damage to the dwelling or structure, or to the property within the dwelling or structure in excess of $1,000.

§ 810.02(2)(c), Florida Statutes


Second Degree Felony Burglary in Florida

You can be charged with a second degree felony if the burglary is of a dwelling, occupied structure or occupied conveyance, of an authorized emergency vehicle, or of a structure or conveyance with the intent to steal a controlled substance.

This is only the case if no assault or battery took place, and you were not armed. In those situations the burglary is considered a first degree felony regardless of where it took place or intent.

Punishment and Sentences for Burglary (2nd Degree):

Felony burglary of the second degree is punishable by a sentence of up to 15 years in prison or as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

§ 810.02(3), Florida Statutes

Burglary of an Occupied or Unoccupied Dwelling

It is a 2nd degree felony in Florida, if in the course of committing the burglary, the offender:

  • Does not make an assault or battery and is not and does not become armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive, AND
  • Enters or remains in a dwelling whether there is or is not another person in the dwelling at the time the offender enters or remains.

§§ 810.02(3)(a) – (3)(b), Florida Statutes

Burglary of an Occupied Structure

It is a 2nd degree felony in Florida, if in the course of committing the burglary, the offender:

  • Does not make an assault or battery and is not and does not become armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive, and
  • Enters or remains in a structure, and there is another person in the structure at the time the offender enters or remains.

§ 810.02(3)(c), Florida Statutes

Burglary of an Occupied Conveyance

Similarly, it is a 2nd degree felony in Florida, if in the course of committing the burglary, the offender:

  • Does not make an assault or battery and is not and does not become armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive, and
  • Enters or remains in a conveyance, and there is another person in the conveyance at the time the offender enters or remains.

§ 810.02(3)(d), Florida Statutes

Burglary of an Authorized Emergency Vehicle

It is a 2nd degree felony in Florida, if in the course of committing the burglary, the offender:

  • Does not make an assault or battery and is not and does not become armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive, and
  • Enters or remains in an authorized emergency vehicle.

§ 810.02(3)(e), Florida Statutes

Burglary of a Structure or Conveyance with Intent to Commit Theft of a Controlled Substance

It is a 2nd degree felony in Florida, if in the course of committing the burglary, the offender:

  • Does not make an assault or battery and is not and does not become armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive, and
  • Enters or remains in a structure or conveyance when the offense intended to be committed therein is theft of a controlled substance.

§ 810.02(3)(f), Florida Statutes


Third Degree Felony Burglary in Florida

You can be charged with a third degree felony if the burglary is of an unoccupied structure or unoccupied conveyance.

This is only the case if no assault or battery took place in the course of committing the offense, and you were not armed. In those situations the burglary is considered a first degree felony.

Punishment and Sentences for Burglary (3rd Degree):

Felony burglary of the third degree is punishable by a sentence of up to 5 years in prison or as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

§ 810.02(4), Florida Statutes

Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure

It is a 3rd degree felony in Florida, if in the course of committing the burglary, the offender:

  • Does not make an assault or battery and is not and does not become armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive, and
  • Enters or remains in a structure, and there is not another person in the structure at the time the offender enters or remains.

§ 810.02(4)(a), Florida Statutes

Burglary of an Unoccupied Conveyance

It is a 3rd degree felony in Florida, if in the course of committing the burglary, the offender:

  • Does not make an assault or battery and is not and does not become armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive, and
  • Enters or remains in a structure, and there is not another person in the structure at the time the offender enters or remains.

§ 810.02(4)(b), Florida Statutes


Defenses to Burglary Charges in Florida

The best defenses to a burglary charge will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. Each case will be different as will be the defenses available to you. If you are accused of burglary, it is important to discuss the facts of your case with your attorney.

Some defenses to burglary include:

  • Mistaken identity
  • Lack of proof of entering the property
  • No intent to commit a crime within
  • Consent, permission, or invitation to be there
  • License to be on the property
  • The building was open to the public at the time