Minnesota Juvenile Burglary Charges Don’t Always Mean a Crime Has Been Committed
Often when it comes to burglary charge in Minnesota, people often mix up the definition with theft. When theft occurs, then the person who has committed the crime has stolen something. However, for burglary charges to be filed, it doesn’t even mean the person needs to have committed a crime. All that needs to be proven is that there was intent to commit a crime on private property, which is why juveniles are often caught up in the web of burglary charges.
What is Defined a Juvenile Burglary?
Juvenile burglary is defined as a person under 18 years old entering a private structure with the intent to commit a crime. With burglary charges, there are four elements that must be fulfilled in order for a juvenile be charged with burglary. These four elements include:
- A Private Building – In order to qualify as a burglary, the building a juvenile entered must be private. It cannot be open to the public at the time or classified as abandoned. However, the structure need not be a building in the traditional sense as well. It could be something temporary like a tent or it could even be a natural cave that is entered after hours even if it is open to the public during the day.
- Entry – For burglary to be charged, the juvenile must have actually entered the building. Loitering outside of it will not be valid. However, if they have their hands inside a broken window trying to unlock it, then this counts as entry.
- Force – Burglary laws in Minnesota typically dictate that an amount of force must be used when entering the building. However, this requirement has gotten somewhat lax in the eyes of the law as even pushing open an unlocked door counts as force.
- Intent to Commit a Crime – What sets burglary apart from trespassing is the intention to commit a crime. Often juveniles can condemn themselves to harsher punishments when police ask them what they were doing. For example, if they were in a school after hours, got arrested, and when the police asked why they were there, they relied that they were doing some graffiti. This utterance would them elevate trespassing right away to burglary.
Punishments for Juvenile Burglary
For most juvenile crimes, the punishments are not as severe as they are for adult perpetrators. As the crime will go through the juvenile court rather than criminal court, often the judges are more lenient except with the most heinous of crimes.
Punishments typically associated with juvenile burglary include fines, probation, counseling, and if a repeat offender, likely some time in a juvenile detention center. If there was substantial damage to the premise while the juvenile was committing burglary, they may also need to make restitution for the damages. For first time young offenders, often the punishment is less severe, typically a bout of probation and possibly some fines. However, repeat offenders will look at continuously harsher punishments.
Unfortunately, burglary is rarely a crime committed on its own. Only when police stop a juvenile before they commit other crime is burglary a solo charge. Often burglary is a crime that is paired with other offenses such as theft or assault. When charged with multiple crimes, this means that the punishment will be harsher since there will be punishments for other crimes added on top.
If your juvenile has committed burglary in the Minneapolis area and needs representation, contact us today. The Law Office of Judith A. Samson is dedicated to representing even Minnesota’s youngest to make sure they learn a lesson from their crime while not suffering unfair punishments for it.