Today, I read an article on the First Coast News website titled, “Suspects cut hole in wall to rob St. Augustine liquor store,” and it reminded me of how people confuse the names of different crimes. For instance, the terms assault and battery are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same crimes in Florida. Here is an example. Johnny is at a bar. During an argument, Johnny throws a punch at Rob. Rob sees the punch coming, so he ducks and misses the punch. Johnny’s fist never makes contact with Rob. This is considered an assault in Jacksonville. Let’s change the facts. Rob does not expect the punch, and Johnny strikes him. This is considered battery in Jacksonville.
There are other crimes that are often confused. Robbery and burglary are two very different criminal offenses, but people often use one term to describe the other. Robbery involves taking something by force from another person. Burglary does not. I will use this First Coast News article as an example:
“The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is looking for suspects who robbed a liquor store by cutting a hole in the wall of an adjacent dentist office Tuesday night. According to SJCSO, the thieves stole hundreds of dollars in high-end liquor and cigarettes from the State Road 16 Liquor Store in the 900 block of S.R. 16. SJCSO says the suspects went onto the roof of the dental office next to the liquor store and cut holes into the wall of the store to disable the alarm. Then the suspects climbed into the liquor store through the ceiling. A white BMW and a large Isuzu box truck, which was later discovered stolen from a furniture store in St. Augustine, can be seen on surveillance video. The BMW has tinted windows and the truck may be missing a hub cap.”
It is important to note that this is only a news article and it may not provide us with all the details needed to analyze this case. I will use the facts provided above to show how a Jacksonville criminal attorney may approach the case. Based upon the news story, the individuals did not commit robbery. Instead, they committed burglary. Florida’s burglary law is Section 810.02, and this Florida criminal law states:
(b) For offenses committed after July 1, 2001, “burglary” means:
1. Entering a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the defendant is licensed or invited to enter; or
2. Notwithstanding a licensed or invited entry, remaining in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance:
a. Surreptitiously, with the intent to commit an offense therein;
b. After permission to remain therein has been withdrawn, with the intent to commit an offense therein; or
c. To commit or attempt to commit a forcible felony, as defined in s. 776.08.
Based on the news story as reported, breaking into the liquor store would be considered burglary as the individuals entered the store with the intent to commit theft in Florida. Since the story did not mention any witnesses, I am assuming that the store was closed. I am also assuming that a store clerk was not in the building, so there was no one to rob. Hence the fact that this is not a robbery, but it is instead a burglary.
If you are accused of a crime or arrested, it is important to discuss the details of your case with your Jacksonville criminal lawyer. Even if you committed a crime, it does not mean that you are guilty of the crime as charged. In this case, St. Johns County detectives are looking for at least four suspects. If they find a suspect, they will likely try to interrogate him or her. The suspect may want to speak with a St. Johns County attorney prior to answering questions.