In Florida, burglary of a dwelling is a very serious felony crime. Burglary clearly includes entering someone’s residence with the intent to steal something inside. However, in Florida, a burglary can include more than just a person’s home. A dwelling is defined as not just the home but also any attached porch. For instance, if a home had an enclosed porch attached, it would be a burglary if a person entered the porch area and stole something even if he/she never entered the actual residence.
Some residences have porch areas that are not enclosed. The porch may consist merely of a concrete slab that abuts a part of the house. If a person walks onto a unenclosed porch to steal property, is that a burglary of a dwelling?
In a recent burglary case in Jacksonville, Florida the defendant was arrested for stealing a bicycle that was on or near an unenclosed porch area that was partially covered by the second floor balcony. The porch area was in front of the residence and had no posts or enclosures indicating it was an attachment to the home.
The Court decided that this area was not an attached porch as contemplated by the burglary statute. As a result, when the defendant walked onto the concrete porch area, he did not commit a burglary of a dwelling. If a porch area is enclosed and/or covered and gives some indication that it is part of the residence, it is likely an attached porch under the burglary of a dwelling statute. However, without some indication that it is attached and an extension of the home, it will likely not be considered an attached porch under the burglary of a dwelling statute.