An unmarked police car in Trinity Oaks, with police officers inside, was recently broken into by a man who that very police had been tasked with arresting, according to NY Daily News. Police had responded to complaints from a previous night’s attempted auto burglary. After trying and failing to break into a number of other vehicles that were all locked, the man opened the door to the unmarked police car to find it full of police officers. He was arrested for loitering and prowling, attempted burglary, auto burglary, and violating his probation. All of these offenses are serious, and in this circumstance would be difficult to disprove. However, in most criminal cases there is much less evidence that the prosecution has to work with, and an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you protect your rights.
Burglary is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Burglary is defined in Chapter 810 of the Florida Code as entering a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense.” But how does the prosecution know that the defendant was attempting to commit an offense? In fact, the mere attempt to “enter a structure or conveyance at any time stealthily and without the consent of the owner” can be used as prima facie evidence that there was intent to commit an offense, as per 810.07. Burglary can also be tried as a second or third-degree felony if there is no intent to commit a crime, the defendant was not in possession of a deadly weapon, and they did not commit bodily harm or property damage. In order to prove that there was no intent to commit an offense once inside a vehicle or dwelling, you need to enlist the legal help of an experienced attorney.
Loitering and Prowling
Under Florida statute 856.021, it is unlawful for a person to “loiter and prowl” in a time or place or “in a manner not usual for law-abiding individuals, under circumstances that warrant a justifiable and reasonable alarm or immediate concern for the safety of persons or property in the vicinity.” Loitering and prowling is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of $500. What does “reasonable alarm or immediate concern” mean? One of the criteria involves the defendant simply running away from the police. In fact, law enforcement may use the fact that a person takes flight from an officer, refuses to identify themselves, or attempts to endeavor or conceal themselves. While this definition of loitering and prowling is obscure and means that an arrest can be made easily, it also makes a conviction more complicated to stick if the defendant seeks experienced legal counsel.
Contact a West Palm Beach Lawyer Today
Loitering and prowling, as well as burglary, are serious offenses that can jeopardize your entire future and potentially put you behind bars for years. To protect your rights, call the West Palm Beach lawyers with the Skier Law Firm today.