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Orlando Burglary Lawyers

Panella Law Firm Accepts Cases Throughout Florida

If you’re charged with burglary, you may have many valid defenses, which is why you need an Orlando burglary lawyer. Being arrested doesn’t mean you’ll be convicted or that there’s nothing you can do to protect your legal rights. The prosecution has the burden of proof. You’re innocent until proven guilty. You may have many options on how to handle your situation. Panella Law Firm is here to help you with an aggressive defense when you need it most. Don’t leave your future to chance. Get the best defense possible by calling our team at 407-602-6559 .

What Type Of Crime Is Burglary?

Our burglary lawyers are often asked by clients to explain the concepts behind burglary charges. Burglary is a property crime. It’s the entry or occupation of a premises or a vehicle with the intent to do something illegal. Part of the law focuses on looting when a state of emergency is declared. The important terms and definitions in the law include:

  • Structure: A building of any kind, whether temporary or permanent, with a roof over it. If there’s a state of emergency, a structure includes the remains of a building, whether there are walls and a roof or not
  • Dwelling: Any kind of building or conveyance, temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, with a roof over it, which is designed to be occupied by people staying at night. If there’s a state of emergency, this includes the remains of a dwelling, whether or not it has walls or a roof.
  • Conveyance: Any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad car, trailer, or aircraft. Entering a conveyance includes taking apart any part of it. If there’s a state of emergency, this includes any part of a conveyance.

Different acts could qualify as burglary under Florida statute:

  • Entering a dwelling, structure, or conveyance with the intent to commit an offense, unless the premises are open to the public at the time or the defendant is permitted or invited to enter
  • If the person is permitted or invited to enter, staying in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance or remaining after permission to stay was withdrawn, with the intent to commit an offense or to commit or try to commit a forcible felony.

If you want to more clearly understand the charges you face and why, contact us. Talk to our experienced Orlando burglary lawyers about your case.

What Are First, Second, And Third Degree Burglaries?

A burglary charge can be a first degree felony (the sentence would be up to 30 years in prison) if, while the burglary is committed, the defendant …

  • Assaults or commits a battery, or
  • Is or becomes armed with explosives or a dangerous weapon, or
  • Goes into a dwelling or structure and uses a motor vehicle as a tool to help commit the offense (other than to escape), damaging the dwelling or structure, or
  • Damages the dwelling or structure, or property in it, worth more than $1,000.

Burglary is a second degree felony (the sentence would be up to 15 years in prison) if, while committing the offense, there’s no assault or battery and the offender isn’t armed or have an explosive, and the offender enters or remains in a …

  • Dwelling
  • Structure or conveyance when another person is there too
  • An emergency vehicle
  • Structure or conveyance to steal a controlled substance.

Burglary is a third degree felony (the sentence would be up to five years in prison), if, while committing the offense, the offender …

  • Doesn’t assault or batter anyone
  • Isn’t armed or doesn’t have an explosive
  • Enters or stays in a structure or conveyance while no others are present.

When you face criminal charges, your future is at stake. Given the length of possible prison terms related to the levels of burglary felony charges, your life may be forever changed if you are found guilty or if you face a maximum penalty. This is why you need to work with a skilled, experienced burglary defense attorney in Orlando. Call the team at Panella Law for an aggressive, strong defense of your rights.

How Can I Get Out Of A Burglary Charge? A Burglary Defense Lawyer Can Help.

After we’re retained, we’ll investigate your case. We’ll come up with all the relevant facts and go through the evidence used against you. Our Orlando burglary lawyers may find weaknesses in the case and develop legal defenses that might help. Your charges may be dropped or reduced thanks to burglary defenses we’ve developed.

Types Of Defense For Burglary Charges: Examples

Here are some possible scenarios in which our burglary defenses would apply:


Burglary involves two elements: being at a certain place and being there with an intent to commit a crime. Depending on the charge, the fact that an owner gave you permission to be there at the time in question can be a burglary defense. The police may claim that though you had permission at one time, that permission ended, which is why they had the right to charge you.

Open To The Public

You were on the premises not to commit burglary, but because you, along with the public, were invited there and freely able to enter. If you’re in a store during regular operating hours or in a home that’s for sale, being shown at an open house, you are there with the owner’s permission.

No Intent To Commit A Crime

You were not at the premises to do anything wrong. You wandered around a house under construction not to steal tools, but out of curiosity. You had dinner at a friend’s home, drank too much, and fell asleep. In the middle of the night, you weren’t there to steal anything; you passed out.

Constitutional Rights Violated

The police illegally searched you, your car, or home and seized evidence that led to your arrest, violating your Fourth Amendment right to privacy and to be free from government intrusion. Your Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights not to incriminate yourself and to consult with an attorney were violated when law enforcement failed to give you Miranda warnings after officers detained you. Disclosures you made shouldn’t be used as evidence against you.


You were not in the place in question at the time of the alleged crime. You have an alibi that you were at another location, doing something else when the burglary allegedly happened. Those accusing you made a mistake by identifying or describing you.

Defenses Our Burglary Defense Lawyers Can Use When There Is Not Intent

Our burglary defense attorneys have several available options to defend your case when you did not have intent to commit burglary. You can rely on our experience and trust that we will uncover all the details of your case to mount the best defense possible against burglary charges.


You committed the burglary because of harassment or coercion by a government official. Without this coercion, you never would have done it. A government official introduced the idea of the burglary. You weren’t willing to commit, or thinking about committing, the crime.


Not only did you lack the intent to commit burglary, you didn’t know what you were doing because of a severe mental condition at the time. You didn’t understand why you were there or know where you were, and didn’t know right from wrong.


Because you were intoxicated, you didn’t have the intent to commit the crime. This burglary defense doesn’t apply if you chose to drink alcohol or use illegal drugs. It may work if you took a legal and/or prescription drug, like in the case of a drug-related legal situation with the help of a drug case lawyer, and became intoxicated as an unexpected side effect. This defense may also apply if you ingested a substance that you didn’t know about and it made you intoxicated.

Duress or necessity:

You reasonably believed that a danger or emergency that you didn’t cause existed. You were threatened with significant, real, imminent harm. There were no other reasonable means to escape, so you avoided the danger by being in a place without consent or permission. For example, there was a hurricane, flood, or someone was chasing you, so you sought shelter in a building, home, or vehicle.

What Is The Average Sentence For Burglary?

The sentences of those who are found guilty of burglary or who plead guilty to it, vary widely. It depends on the facts of the situation, what degree burglary is at issue, and whether you have a prior criminal conviction. A burglary defense lawyer will work with you to find ways to reduce your possible sentence.

After an investigation and with the help of a skilled trial lawyer, we have a full understanding of your case, and we often speak to prosecutors to convince them to drop or reduce the charges. Few criminal charges are resolved at a trial. Usually, defendants want to avoid an “all or nothing” trial where they could be convicted and face serious consequences. They will often agree to a plea bargain.

If you intend to mount a plea bargain, make sure your burglary defense lawyer explains how it works and all options available to you before you make this decision. This can involve pleading guilty to the charge, or a lesser charge, in exchange for an agreed-upon sentence. With your consent, our Orlando burglary defense attorneys will negotiate a plea bargain agreement. As part of that agreement, your sentence may be reduced to something you’re willing to accept. In exchange, you won’t take the case to trial.

How Our Burglary Defense Could Prevent Your Having A Criminal Record

If you’re charged with third degree burglary, depending on your situation and past criminal record, you may qualify for Florida’s Pretrial Intervention program. Its goal is to divert cases out of the trial court process. Defendants will have a chance to prevent problems that come with a criminal record and stay out of prison. Our Orlando burglary defense lawyers will advocate for you to get into a program so you can avoid the worst consequences of incarceration.

The program provides counseling, education, supervision, medical, psychological, and substance abuse treatment as needed and when it’s available and appropriate. This needs to be your first offense. Or if you have a record, you can’t have more than one nonviolent misdemeanor or third degree felony in your past.

You need the approval of the program administrator and the consent of the alleged victim, the state attorney, and the judge. You must agree to the program and waive your right to a speedy trial for the duration of the program. Our burglary defense attorneys can contact the victim or their family to try to get the victim’s consent. You or your family cannot.

Your burglary case would be continued for 90 days if your participation is satisfactory. If you’re not fulfilling your obligations, the proceedings will resume. At the end of the program, the administrator would recommend:

  • Your case should go back into the normal process because your progress is unsatisfactory or
  • You need more supervision or
  • The charges should be dismissed because your prosecution is unnecessary.

The state attorney makes the final decision about whether the prosecution in your burglary case continues.

Which Is Worse: Theft Or Burglary?

Some of our clients don’t understand the difference between theft and burglary. Florida statute describes theft as knowingly or trying to obtain or use another’s property with the intent to, temporarily or permanently …

  • Deprive another of a right to the property or a benefit from it
  • Appropriate the property for his or her use or for the benefit of another person not entitled to use it.

The penalties for theft depend on the property at issue and its value. Both burglary and theft have felony in the first degree as their highest classification. While all burglaries are felonies, some thefts are misdemeanors (which carry a possible penalty of up to a year in prison).

How Long Does Burglary Stay On Your Record?

A burglary stays on your record until it’s sealed or expunged. The public can’t access a sealed criminal history. It’s highly restricted, though some governmental and related entities can see the information. Expunged criminal records are destroyed. There are different requirements for both and a process that needs to be completed.

If you want to know how you can get the record of your burglary charges expunged, contact us. Panella Law Firm helps clients clear their criminal records so they can move on with their lives.

You Deserve Aggressive Representation From Our Orlando Burglary Defense Lawyers

Being accused of burglary is an extremely serious matter. It’s a felony charge you shouldn’t try to handle yourself. Improve your chances of the best outcome by working with the Panella Law Firm. A seasoned burglary defense lawyer fighting for you can make the difference in your case.

You may feel frightened and confused if you’re being investigated for or are charged with burglary. The criminal defense attorneys at the Panella Law Firm understand what you’re going through and will always treat you with respect. We will listen to you, explain Florida law, discuss how it may apply in your case, and what your best options are going forward.

Call our burglary attorneys now so that we can begin building your defense: 407-602-6559.

Attorney Mike Panella

For Mike Panella, the concept of zealous advocacy developed at an early age – fueled by what he perceived to be an unjust resolution in a personal family legal matter. Mr. Panella would later attribute his passion to defend the rights of those who stand accused to those inequities in the legal system he observed, and considered unjust. Before opening Panella Law Firm, Mr. Panella served as an Assistant Public Defender for Florida’s 18th Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office and worked hundreds of cases in both Brevard and Seminole Counties. Mr. Panella was undefeated at trial. [ Attorney Bio ]

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