Most criminal cases in Florida will resolve by plea. And since burglary of a dwelling (either occupied or unoccupied) has a sentencing range of 21 months up to 15 years, a plea to some non-prison sanction, such as probation, may seem like a good deal. But before you accept the plea, here are some things that you should know about pleading guilty - or even no contest - a burglary of a dwelling charge.
You cannot, under any circumstances, get a burglary of a dwelling charge off of your record if you have pleaded guilty or no contest, even if a withhold of adjudication is imposed. This is a disqualifying offense. Only burglary of a conveyance and burglary of a structure can be sealed if adjudication is withheld.
If you are placed on probation for a burglary of a dwelling charge, you will be classified as a Violent Felony Offender Of Special Concern (VFOSC) if you violate probation and you will be held without bond. Unless the judge makes specific findings that you are not a danger to the community, the court must sentence you to a minimum of 21 months in prison, possibly more if you score higher.
Burglary of a dwelling, even a withhold, will most likely result in your deportation from the United States if you are not a U.S. citizen.
Burglary of a dwelling, even a withhold, can be used as a qualifying felony to enhance you as a career criminal for future offenses, so long as you were placed on probation or served time in county jail.
Burglary of a dwelling is a serious charge. And while I applaud any criminal defense attorney who can successfully negotiate a plea of probation for this offense, I urge anybody charged with this crime to carefully consider some of these unintended consequences before accepting responsibility for this crime.
Eric Matheny is a Miami burglary lawyer and Broward burglary lawyer. Call to discuss your case.