Miami Beach, FL asked in Criminal Law for Florida

Q: According to Florida state law, is a shipping container considered a structure - specifically in reference to burglary?

I served as a juror on a burglary case. The defense argued that since there were no structures on the property, the defendant should be found not guilty. Although we found not guilty because of reasonable doubt of intent to steal, we were unsure as to whether some shipping containers on the property invalidated the defense's arguement.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kevin J. Pitts
Kevin J. Pitts
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Daytona Beach, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: If the case is still pending disregard anything I say. As a juror your job is to place the facts into the law as explained to you and decide if the state has carried the burden to prove the case. The attorneys present the evidence and the Judge explains the law. As a defense attorney I can assure you the attorney is not upset that you found not guilty for another reason. Often the attorney does not know what the reason is unless a member of the jury discusses it with them. The definition of structure from Fla Jur is attached here. For burglary purposes, "structure" is defined by statute as a building of any kind, temporary or permanent, which has a roof over it, together with the curtilage thereof; however, during a state of emergency declared by the governor and within the area covered by the order or proclamation, a "structure" for burglary purposes means a building of any kind, or such portions or remnants as exist at the original site, regardless of the absence of a wall or roof. For example, a wood frame house under which the defendant crawled in order to cut and remove copper pipe constituted a "structure" within the scope of the statute defining the offense of burglary of a structure, where the house was a building and had a roof. 16A Fla. Jur 2d Criminal Law—Substantive Principles and Offenses § 1044.

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