Will I Be Charged for Breaking Into a Car?

Everybody makes mistakes, and no one deserves to receive a lifetime of punishment for one small slip up, especially for a first-time infraction. One of the more common infractions that occurs in tourist areas all across Florida is burglary of a motor vehicle. With so many people leaving their cars parked for long periods of time, often with laptops or other valuables left out, breaking into a vehicle may seem like a minor infraction, but it actually considered a felony crime.

What penalties am I facing for this crime?

Burglary of a conveyance occurs when someone enters a motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car with the intent to commit a crime inside. The most common burglary of this type is someone breaking into a car to take goods that are laying out, such as car radios and GPS devices. This can also apply to parts of the vehicle that are taken from its exterior, such as hubcaps.

Anyone that has been arrested for this first time burglary charge is facing a third-degree felony, carrying:

  • Five years in prison
  • Five years of probation
  • $5,000 in fines

Being convicted of this crime can carry severe legal ramifications, even though it is a common crime in Florida. Luckily, there are a number of defenses that can be employed to prevent a one-time mistake from impacting someone's future for years to come. A defense attorney can show that consent was granted to enter the vehicle, that the conveyance was open to the public, or that there was no intent to commit a crime. In addition, a first time offense also makes it more likely that the prosecution will be willing to offer a plea bargain or reduced penalties.