Burglary Crimes in Pinellas County
For law enforcement agencies in Pinellas County, FL, burglaries greatly impact their investigative resources and patrol operations. For example, they estimate that the average cost of a burglary investigation is nearly $5,000, translating into more than $7,000,000 of resources dedicated each year to burglary investigations.
To increase the efficiency of these investigations, many agencies have burglary units that investigate these cases and gather evidence. For example, the Clearwater Police Department has a “burglary unit” comprising six burglary detectives devoted to this particular type of crime.
The lack of physical evidence often complicates burglary investigations. Law enforcement will attempt to gather physical evidence, including video surveillance images, fingerprints, footprints, tool marks, or DNA left at the scene.
According to Florida Statute Section 810.02, a person commits burglary by:
- entering a dwelling, structure, or conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein (unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the person’s entry is licensed or invited); or
- remaining in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance:
- after permission to remain is withdrawn, with the intent to commit an offense therein;
- surreptitiously, with the intent to commit an offense therein; or
- to commit or attempt to commit a forcible felony.
Burglary of a vehicle, conveyance, structure, or dwelling, are some of the most common property crimes charged in Florida.
The penalties for burglary crimes in Florida depend on how the crime is charged. For instance, burglary of a conveyance is charged as a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in Florida State Prison.
At the other end of the spectrum, burglary with assault or battery is a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison.
Attorney for Crimes of Burglary in Pinellas County, FL
When people think of burglary crimes committed in Pinellas County, FL, they assume the offender was a stranger to the alleged victim. Many cases, however, involve people who know each other as family members or dating partners.
Juveniles are also arrested for burglary because of the impulsive nature of the crime.
If you were charged with burglary in Pinellas County, FL, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm. We represent clients charged with various theft and property crimes, including petit theft, grand theft, burglary, and dealing in stolen property.
At Sammis Law Firm, we represent clients across Pinellas County, including the city of St. Petersburg, St. Pete Beach, Pinellas Park, and Clearwater.
Visit our office at 14010 Roosevelt Blvd Suite 701, Clearwater, FL 33762-3820, near the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center (CJC) Courthouse on 49th Street.
Don’t face the judge alone. Contact our experienced criminal defense lawyers with offices in Pinellas County, FL.
Penalties and Punishments for Burglary Crimes under Florida Law
Florida law classifies the burglary charge as a felony offense according to the offense’s specific circumstances, including:
- burglary or attempted burglary of an unoccupied structure or conveyance is a third-degree felony under Section 810.02(4), F.S., punishable by up to five (5) years in Florida State Prison;
- burglary of a dwelling, an occupied structure or conveyance, or an authorized emergency vehicle is a second-degree felony under Section 810.02(3), F.S., punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in Florida State Prison; and
- pursuant to Section 810.02(2), F.S., a burglary is a first-degree felony when an offender:
- commits an assault or a battery;
- becomes armed with explosives or a dangerous weapon within the premises the defendant is burglarizing;
- enters a dwelling or structure and does one of the following:
- causes damage to a dwelling or structure with a motor vehicle; or
- causes damage to a dwelling or structure over $1,000.
A burglary is a felony offense classified according to the offense’s specific circumstances, as follows:
- Unarmed burglary of an unoccupied structure or unoccupied conveyance (no assault or battery) is a Level 4 third degree felony;
- Unarmed burglary of an occupied structure (no assault or battery) is a Level 6 second degree felony;
- Unarmed burglary of a dwelling, an occupied conveyance, or an authorized emergency vehicle (no assault or battery) is a Level 7 second degree felony;
- Burglary is a Level 8 first degree felony punishable by a terms of years not exceeding life imprisonment if, in the course of committing the offense, the offender:
- Makes an assault or battery upon any person;
- Is or becomes armed within the dwelling, structure, or conveyance, with explosives or a dangerous weapon; or
- 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 property within the dwelling or structure in excess of $1,000.12
Definitions for Florida’s Burglary Statute
Under ch. 810, F.S., Florida law defines specific terms for purposes of Florida’s burglary statute,
“Conveyance” includes any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad vehicle or car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car. “To enter a conveyance” includes taking apart any conveyance portion. However, during a state of emergency, for purposes of ss. 810.02 and 810.08, F.S., only, the term “conveyance” means a motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad vehicle or car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car or such portions thereof as exist. S. 810.011(3), F.S.
“Dwelling” means 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. However, during a state of emergency, for purposes of ss. 810.02 and 810.08, F.S., only, the term means a building of any kind or such portions or remnants thereof as exist at the original site, regardless of the absence of a wall or roof. S. 810.011(1), F.S.
“Structure” means a building of any kind, either temporary or permanent, with a roof over it and the curtilage thereof. During a state of emergency, for purposes of Florida Statute Section 810.02 and 810.08, F.S., only, the term includes such portions or remnants thereof as exist at the original site, regardless of the absence of a wall or roof. S. 810.011(2), F.S.
The term “forcible felony” is defined to include any of the following:
- sexual battery;
- home-invasion robbery;
- aggravated assault;
- aggravated battery;
- aggravated stalking;
- aircraft piracy;
- unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb; and
- any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.
Read more about the punishments and penalties for burglary crimes in Florida.
Traveling Across County Lines to Commit Burglary
In 2014, the Legislature enacted laws to reclassify the crime of burglary to a higher degree when the offender traveled to commit the crime.
Under Section 843.22, F.S., if a person who commits a burglary travels any distance with the intent to commit the burglary in a county in Florida other than the person’s county of residence, the degree of the burglary is reclassified to the next higher degree if the purpose of the person’s travel is to thwart law enforcement attempts to track the items stolen in the burglary.
The phrase “county of residence” means the county within Florida where a person resides.
Evidence of a person’s county of residence includes, but is not limited to:
- The county in which a person is employed;
- The county in which a person is enrolled in an educational institution;
- The county in which a person’s motor vehicle is registered;
- Records of a lease agreement for residential property;
- Records of real property or mobile home ownership; and
- The address on a person’s driver license or state identification card.
For purposes of sentencing, a burglary that is reclassified under this section is ranked one level above the ranking specified in s. 921.0022 or s. 921.0023, F.S., for the offense committed.
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Burglary & Pawn Detectives – Visit the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office website to learn more about the detectives in the burglary and pawn unit. These detectives use the Regional Automated Property Information Database (RAPID), an electronic database of pawn purchases, seller contact information, and fingerprints, for all law enforcement agencies in Pinellas County. Find information on how to recover stolen property from a Second-Hand Dealer FSS 538 or Pawn Shop FSS 359. Suppose you find your stolen property at a second-hand dealer or pawn shop. In that case, you can place a Pawn “Hold” on that property, purchase the property back for the amount the shop paid the seller, or complete a Statement of Claim in Replevin with the Pinellas County Clerk of Court.
Clearwater Police Department on Burglary Crimes – Visit the website of the Clearwater Police Department to learn more about how they investigate crimes of burglary involving commercial businesses, residential properties, and vehicles. Find studies showing how many burglaries are investigated yearly by the Clearwater Police Department, including their arrest and closure rate across three categories. The article also offers advice on how the public can safeguard themselves against property crimes such as burglary and robbery.
This article was last updated on Friday, June 16, 2023.