Criminal Defense Attorney in Miami Dade: Differences in Burglary and Trespass

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13th Feb 2018

A criminal defense attorney in Miami Dade will always review the nature of the charges against you and determine whether there is a possibility for your charges to be reduced to a less serious offense.  In the case of burglary, a lesser offense may be trespass.  Although both of these offenses are criminal in nature, the distinction between them can have a significant outcome for your case.  Some of the distinctions that a criminal defense attorney in Miami Dade may highlight between burglary and trespass include:

Potential Penalty

Burglary is considered a second degree felony.  It carries a possible penalty of up to 15 years in state prison.  The minimum prison time for this offense is 21 months.  In contrast, trespass is considered a misdemeanor.  It carries a maximum jail sentence of one year.

Legal Definition

Burglary under Florida law is defined as the unlawful entry onto another person’s property with the intent to commit a crime.  Trespass is defined as unlawfully entering another person’s property.


The most significant distinction between these two offenses is intent.  Burglary involves the intent to commit some additional crime other than entering the dwelling.  Usually, the intent is to steal something in the home.  However, burglary can be committed if another crime is committed.  For a prosecutor to establish intent, he or she must show that the defendant intended on committing other criminal activity beyond the burglary itself.  This often takes the shape of circumstantial evidence.  If the prosecutor does not have evidence of the intent to commit a crime, the most he or she can prove is the crime of trespass.

If you are facing burglary charges, it is important to talk to a criminal defense lawyer about negating the element of intent.