When a minor under the age of eighteen breaks the law, they are generally sent to a juvenile court for adjudication. Due to the unique circumstances of minors, they are not considered or treated as criminals, but instead as delinquent children. Even still, punishments in juvenile court can be serious and have long-lasting consequences for the minor's life. Miami and south Florida residents should contact an experienced criminal trial attorney immediately to protect and uphold their rights.
Juvenile burglary is considered a more serious offense. Minors facing burglary charges are often tried in adult court, where punishments and consequences are more serious. If you or your child has been charged with juvenile burglary, it is imperative you contact an experienced Miami juvenile attorney. A juvenile attorney will raise important pre-trial motions, guide the minor through these difficult to understand charges, and ensure the minor's case is heard in juvenile court.What is Juvenile Burglary?
Under Florida statute 810.02, burglary occurs when a person enters or remains in a dwelling or structure, intending to commit a crime. Burglary can be committed if an individual does one of the following:
- Unlawful entry into the dwelling or structure, with the intent to commit a crime; or
- Lawful entry into a dwelling or structure, but remaining inside:
- With the intent to commit a crime, or
- After permission is withdrawn with the intent to commit a crime.
Notice it is not necessary that a crime have taken place, only that the burglar intended for a crime to take place. For example, an individual who breaks into a house intending to steal the homeowner's property but is caught by police before anything is stolen has still committed a burglary.
These are the elements of general burglary. The crime becomes juvenile burglary when the burglary is committed by a minor under the age of eighteen. This may seem trivial, but this distinction can carry substantial weight with regard to punishment.Aggravating Factors
With the presence of aggravating factors, burglary can be transformed into the more serious crime of aggravated burglary. For juveniles, a lack of aggravating factors substantially lessens the likelihood of being tried in the favorable juvenile court system. Aggravated burglary is a felony of the first degree and is usually tried in adult court. A burglary becomes aggravated if the defendant:
- Assaults or batters any person during the burglary;
- Is in possession of a weapon during the burglary;
- Uses a motor vehicle to assist in committing the burglary (other than as a getaway car);
- Does more than $1,000 in property damage.
If you are a minor, or the parent of a minor who has been charged with a crime, contact a Miami criminal trial attorney as soon as possible to ensure you are treated fairly and you receive the best outcome. Juvenile burglary charges are serious and carry severe consequences, having an experienced criminal defense attorney aggressively fighting by your side can significantly improve your situation.