What happens if I get charged for burglary? and my record is clean.

Asked almost 3 years ago - Tampa, FL

Im 16 years old. I was in an abandoned house. no one was living there but someone still owned it. The house was already messed up when I got there. So I didnt steal anything or break anything. I was just hanging out with 2 other friends inside the house. And i didnt break the door open. The back sliding door of the townhouse was already open. The cops let us go. But its up to the landlord whether he wants to press charges or not. If he does press charges, what can he do?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Eric J Trabin

    Contributor Level 19

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    Answered . It sounds like you are being charged with Burglary of a Dwelling. There is case law that even if the house is not occupied, it can still be considered a dwelling, which carries harsher penalties than say, a structure. It sounds like the charge should really be a trespass, which is only a misdemeanor, but the state may believe there was intent to commit a crime inside which makes it a burglary.

    Being that you are a juvenile with no history, you would likely be charged as a juvenile. While the charge is still serious, you are much better off being charged as a juvenile than as an adult.

    The victim can go to the police or the state attorney and let them know he wishes to prosecute. You are lucky that you were not arrested immediately. Hopefully the victim decides he does not want to prosecute (what would he get out of it?) and nothing else happens.

    Be careful who you hang out with and what you do. This should serve as a lesson that something like "hanging out" can get you in trouble, so think about the possible consequences of your actions.

    Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

    This is not to be considered legal advice nor does an attorney-client relationship exist.
  2. Craig A. Epifanio

    Contributor Level 18

    Answered . Just wanted to add one thing to what the other attorneys have answered. They are all correct. However, you may just end up getting charged with trespassing. In that case, the consequences are not as serious as it would be a misdemeanor. In order to convict of burglary, there must be an intent to commit a crime. If you entered without permission and just hung out, then there was no intent to commit a crime, but you will need an attorney to help convince the prosectuor of your intent.

  3. Anthony Rubino

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . The attorney above gave you an excellent answer. There is really nothing I can add.

    Just be smart. There is no reason to be hanging out in an abandoned house. Hopefully you will not be charged and this will serve as a valuable lesson to you. Be smart!

    Best of luck.

  4. Royce Brent Bishop

    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . That was a good answer. Hopefully, the owner will not press charges and the State attorney drops the case, which would be the best for you. The alternative is that the State Attorney decides to go for a misdemeanor like trespass or criminal mischief. Florida is dangerous, don't go into other peoples houses or cars or property. Some crazy person might shoot you.

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