In Florida, both burglary and robbery are two distinct criminal offenses that can result in several penalties, such as imprisonment, fines, and probation. The main difference between burglary and robbery is the manner in which the crime is committed.
Someone can be charged with burglary simply by breaking into a place with the intent to commit a crime, while robbery involves taking property by force. Still, there are several other differences between them, but both are considered property crimes and are classified as felonies.
Since these types of criminal offenses carry severe penalties and repercussions, you should speak with a criminal defense lawyer to guide you throughout your case. Contact Parikh Law, P.A. to discuss your situation and see how an attorney can assist you.
What Constitutes Burglary in Florida
Florida defines the act of burglary as unlawfully entering premises intending to commit a crime. Of course, the offender doesn’t need to commit theft to be charged with burglary.
It’s simple enough to enter a dwelling without permission to commit an offense and be charged with burglary. Still, the prosecutor must prove that the offender had the intent of committing a crime and that their presence in the building was unlawful.
Even entering a conveyance (ship, trailer, car) without permission or any other structure or building can be considered burglary. In most cases, burglaries aren’t as severely punished as robberies, but it strictly depends on the circumstances of the case.
In the worst burglary convictions, offenders face similar punishments as in robbery convictions. For example, if the offender entered an occupied building, their crime can be classified as a second-degree felony.
If the burglar was also armed, then they might face a first-degree felony conviction, which can easily lead to life imprisonment.
What Constitutes Robbery in Florida
Robberies, just like burglaries, are property crimes, but more often than not, they are also considered violent crimes. Robbery involves taking the property of another using violence, force, assault, or threats. The four elements that constitute robbery are the following:
- An individual attempted or took the property of another
- The victim was present when the robbery occurred, or it happened near their presence
- The offender used violence, force, assault, or threats to take money or other valuable goods from the victim
- The offender had the intention of taking the property from the victim permanently
Robbery is almost always a crime against another person, while burglary can be seen as a property crime. Most robberies are classified as third, second, or first-degree felonies. You can face a minimum of five years imprisonment with the possibility of a life sentence in Florida and fines of $5,000 to $10,000.
Unarmed robberies have the same sentences as dwelling burglaries, as both are classified as second-degree felonies.
Legal Defense Tactics in Burglary or Robbery Cases
Burglary and robberies are also different in their legal defense tactics. When it comes to burglary defense, the defender can argue that there was a lack of intent to commit a crime. The defense can showcase that the offender entered a dwelling to find a place to sleep or take cover from bad weather. In this case, the offender might only face trespassing charges, which come with lighter sentences than burglary charges.
When it comes to robbery charges, the defendant can argue that they were intoxicated during the time of the robbery. Although this might not be enough to dismiss robbery charges, it might open up a plea deal for lesser charges.
The defendant can also argue that they were coerced, threatened, or forced by someone else to commit the crime. This is known as acting under duress. Since the prosecution must prove that the crime occurred beyond any reasonable doubt, robbery defendants can attack the evidence presented with counter evidence that may prove they were somewhere else during the crime or otherwise innocent.
There are far more defense strategies that you can use in your burglary or robbery case, tailored to your cases’ unique circumstances and facts. However, to find out what you can do to have your charges dropped or receive a lighter sentence, contact a criminal defense lawyer right away.
Prevention and Security Measures
Prevention and security measures play a crucial role in deterring and reducing the occurrences of both burglary and robbery. These measures aim to protect individuals, businesses, and properties from becoming targets of criminal activities. By implementing effective prevention strategies, individuals can minimize their vulnerability and create a safer environment. Here are some key measures that can be taken:
- Physical Security: Enhancing physical security is essential to deter burglars and robbers. This includes installing robust door and window locks, security cameras, alarm systems, and reinforced entry points. Adequate lighting around the premises, especially during nighttime, is also important.
- Access Control: Limiting access to sensitive areas is crucial for preventing unauthorized entry. Implementing access control measures such as key cards, biometric systems, or security personnel can significantly reduce the risk of both burglary and robbery.
- Security Alarms and Surveillance: Installing reliable alarm systems that immediately alert authorities or security personnel when triggered is an effective deterrent. Surveillance cameras can also act as a deterrent and provide valuable evidence in case of an incident.
- Safe and Secure Storage: Businesses and individuals should secure valuable assets, cash, and important documents in safes or secure storage areas. These should be well-protected and inaccessible to unauthorized personnel.
- Employee Training and Awareness: Educating employees on security protocols, emergency procedures, and recognizing suspicious activities can help prevent internal theft and improve overall security. Regular training sessions and reminders about security measures are essential.
- Neighborhood Watch Programs: Community involvement can significantly contribute to crime prevention. Establishing neighborhood watch programs encourages residents to look out for each other and report any suspicious activities promptly.
- Collaborate with Law Enforcement: Building a strong relationship with local law enforcement can lead to proactive crime prevention. Regular communication, reporting incidents promptly, and seeking advice from law enforcement professionals can enhance security efforts.
By implementing these prevention and security measures, individuals and businesses can significantly reduce the risk of burglary and robbery. It is important to continuously assess and update security systems to stay ahead of evolving criminal tactics and protect one’s property and well-being.