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Armed Burglary


Florida takes burglary very seriously. Add in a weapon, and a simple burglary charge becomes armed burglary, with the potential for a life sentence. Anyone who commits armed burglary in Florida faces harsh penalties if convicted.

A criminal record of any kind  impacts nearly all areas of your life, including housing, education, and employment. If you are arrested and charged with armed burglary, to avoid conviction , jail time, and a criminal record, you need to speak with Attorneys Adam Farkas and Jacqueline Crowley, leading Florida criminal defense attorneys immediately.

Defining Burglary In Florida

Breaking into another person’s residence without their permission is considered burglary. The exception would be an emergency such as a fire, broken water line, etc. This also applies to non-residential structures as well as a “conveyance”: vehicles such as cars, trucks, and vans, or anything else that is vehicular and moves.

Florida Statute 810.02(2)(b) defines “burglary” as when a person enters a dwelling when it is not open to the public, without an invitation, or after the host withdraws the invitation, and has the intent to commit burglary. Another term for burglary is “breaking and entering,” and these terms are used interchangeably.

A person does not have to be completely inside a dwelling or a vehicle to be charged with burglary. The person commits a crime with even a body part inside, such as breaking a window, reaching inside, and taking something unlawfully.

One crucial component of this charge is the defendant’s intent. When someone sneaks into a dwelling or vehicle, a jury is allowed to assume criminal intent.

Armed Burglary In Florida

  • The same Florida statute describes armed burglary, or burglary involving a firearm, one in which a person enters the dwelling carrying a deadly weapon or explosive, upon entry or becomes armed after entering the dwelling.
  • Armed burglary involves assault and/or battery in the process of committing a burglary. The victim is either in fear of assault or battery or experiences an assault. Whether the person is armed at the time they commit the burglary or becomes armed during the burglary, it is considered an armed burglary. Therefore, armed burglary is a first-degree felony in Florida.


Florida Statute 790.001(13) offers a broad definition of weaponry. In addition to firearms and explosives, “weapons” include:

  • Dirk (long-bladed knife with one or two edges)
  • Metallic Knuckles
  • Billie
  • Tear Gas Gun
  • Chemical Weapon Or Device
  • Explosives
  • Destructive devices, such as bombs, grenades, pipe bombs, and other types of devices
  • Other items that aren’t technically weapons but can still be used to cause deadly force, such as a bladed kitchen knife or crowbar

One exception is “self-defense chemical spray,” with less than two ounces or less of any chemical (i.e., pepper spray, mace, etc.)

Additionally, even an unloaded or non-working weapon is considered a weapon for the purpose of armed burglary. Possession of any one of these items can change a burglary charge to armed burglary.

Penalties And Sentencing

All burglaries are felonies in Florida, even if there are no other crimes committed at the same time. Prosecution must start within three to four years of the crime. However, if DNA testing and identification can positively establish the burglar’s identity, there is no statute of limitations on bringing someone to trial.

The sentencing of burglary charges is as follows:

• A third-degree felony charge, the minimum penalty for burglary, includes a maximum five-year prison term

• A second-degree felony charge, the next charge for burglary, includes a maximum 15-year prison term

• A first-degree felony charge, the highest charge for burglary, includes a maximum life prison term

Armed burglary (or burglary with the addition of assault and battery) is automatically a first-degree felony. In addition to a prison term of 30 years to life, you may also incur fines of $10,000. A conviction for armed burglary cannot be “expunged,” or removed from your record.

Legal Defenses

If you are charged with armed burglary, you will need strong legal representation to build a strong defense. Don’t even consider entering a plea until you consult with us at Farkas & Crowley. Our experience as Florida criminal defense attorneys in Palm Beach County will provide you with strong defense strategies such as:

  • Lack of criminal intent
  • Misidentification of the accused
  • Remaining at the place with permission, or implied permission
  • No proof of weapon possession
  • Self-defense
  • The place was open to the public, such as a retail store (exception: closed businesses)
  • The individual is an uninvolved bystander

Though you do have the right to represent yourself in court, it is not recommended in cases like this. These are serious charges and your defense must be well thought out and use every avenue that we can provide as to research, precedent, and defensive strategies. You cannot mess around when you are facing Florida’s harsh punishments for armed burglary that include life sentences.

Most defendants do not have a strong understanding of the law to adequately defend themselves. Without that understanding of Florida’s burglary laws, you could end up in prison for life. We will investigate the facts of the case and make recommendations on how to contest the charges and reduce the potential penalties.

Armed Burglary Charges? Call Farkas & Crowley Immediately

If you’ve been accused of or arrested for Armed Burglary in Florida, you need experienced legal help quickly. You also have the right to choose your own attorney. That’s where we can help.

Farkas & Crowley’s expert legal team is ready to work with you to defend yourself against the charges. We have successfully handled multiple armed burglary cases along with other cases of violent crimes. With us, you get our experience as former prosecutors as well as our collaborative partnership as a dedicated defense team to help you get the best possible outcome for your case.

Call us now or use our contact form to make an appointment for your free consultation.

armed burglary

Looking for a criminal law firm? Farkas & Crowley, P.A. are the attorneys for you. They are extremely knowledgeable of the law and go the extra mile for their clients. Their expertise and impeccable work ethic are hard to beat. Available 24/7. Highly recommended.

-Marla Newman

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500 S. Australian Ave.
6th Floor
West Palm Beach, FL 33401


(561) - 444 - 9529


Mon - Fri: 9 am – 5 pm

Farkas & Crowley, PA

Criminal Defense & Family Law Lawyers