Miami Burglary Charge or Miami Robbery Charge? Examining Ducas v. Florida to Understand Crucial Nuanced Differences

June 6, 2012 by David S. Seltzer

If you or someone you love faces significant Miami criminal charges -- especially burglary or robbery -- you can learn some key lessons from an opinion filed on April 11, 2012 in the Third District Court of Appeal in the case of Ducas v. Florida.

The defendant, Jules Ducas, entered a CVS Pharmacy in Miami on March 2, 2008, with the intention to rob a store. After pretending to shop for a bit, Ducas went into the counter, pulled a gun on the clerk and demanded money from the cash register. The clerk demurred: he needed tender cash to activate the register. Ducas demanded the clerk provide that tender from his own wallet.

In a bold move, the clerk refused!

So Ducas then turned his gun on two women who had just entered the CVS and demanded cash from them. The women complied. Ducas proceeded to raid the register and flee the store. After some time, Ducas was arrested and ultimately hit with three counts of armed robbery and a single count of burglary. He was initially convicted of all four counts but appealed on three grounds:

1: He said the trial court made a mistake by not allowing him to introduce discovery depositions from the two women -- an attempt to try to show that they had described someone other than Ducas as the assailant.

2: Ducas claimed that the state attempted to introduce hearsay evidence regarding his palmprint near the cash register.

3: Ducas said that the trial court should have acquitted the burglary count because the crime happened in a “public place.”

The Third District Court of Appeals rejected the first two claims but found merit in the third, comparing the situation to a similar burglary conviction reversal in the case of Colbert v. State.

The legal distinction between "burglary" and "robbery" may seem like splitting hairs. But if you face significant Florida criminal charges, like burglary or robbery, the elimination of a single felony count can make an enormous difference in terms of your sentencing.

To get clear on your next steps as a Florida criminal defendant, connect immediately with the team here at Seltzer Law, P.A., for a free and thorough case evaluation. Our team has extensive experience getting results in complicated criminal cases. We can help you feel back in control of your life and equip you with the most appropriate legal strategy.

Call now for help, any time of day or night: 1-888-THE-DEFENSE.