Although robbery and burglary are terms that are typically used interchangeably, legally speaking, there is a slight difference between the two offenses, both in terms of elements and in terms of the applicable penalty.
According to Florida Statute 812.13, a robbery is a crime of taking of money or other property that belongs to someone else, with the intent to either permanently or temporarily depriving the owner of that money or other property by use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear. Robbery is a felony that is punishable by prison term up to 15 years, which may be extendable up to a maximum of 30 years in case weapons or firearms were used. Habitual or repeat offenders may face even more severe punishment.
If weapons or firearms were used, the crime is termed as an armed robbery, and the punishment may be any of the following depending upon the situation of that particular case:
- Compulsory 10-year minimum jail term for possession of weapon;
- Compulsory 20-year minimum jail term if shots were fired; or
- Up to 25 years to life if the robbery victim(s) endured severe bodily damage.
Burglary, on the other hand, as defined in Florida Statute 810.02, occurs when a person intentionally enters a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance 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.
Burglary can result in five years to life in jail, depending upon the seriousness of the crime. A first time offense of burglary usually does not carry prison time. However, if a dwelling (i.e. a person’s home or business) is burglarized, prison time may be applied. Burglary can actually turn into a first degree felony if the criminal assaults someone in the home or carries a weapon into the home.
Charges for robbery or burglary can even be enhanced, depending upon the prior offense history of the accused. If it can be established that it has been less than three years since the accused was released from the Department of Corrections, in most cases the charges are enhanced.
Florida has an especially harsh statute on the books – Florida Code Section 775.082 – also known as the Prison Release Reoffender (PRR) statute. The PRR statute is fairly severe. It requires a court to determine if, while servicing a sentence of imprisonment for more than one year, or on escape status, or within three years of release from a facility operated by the Department of Corrections or a private vendor or another state or territory, the defendant committed, or attempted to commit robbery, armed burglary, and a whole host of other criminal offenses.
Contact an Experienced West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one is charged with robbery or burglary, you need experienced representation. The Skier Law Firm, P.A. is here to help. Our West Palm Beach criminal lawyers have been practicing for over a decade and have earned the respect of all prosecutors with whom we work with on a daily basis. We will advocate for your rights and try to get the charges thrown out, but if the prosecutor has sufficient evidence to move forward with charges, we also have the ability to attempt to work out a plea deal, depending on the facts of the case.