If your child, together with other people, has been arrested and charged with burglary, then you need to get him or her a criminal defense lawyer fast. An experienced lawyer will help you to come up with mitigating circumstances that may help to limit the severity of the charges. Some of these circumstances may include:

No Criminal Record

The absence or presence of criminal history is always a factor in determining the severity of sentences.  Judges and even jurors are always inclined to sympathize with and hand lighter sentences to teenage first offenders. In fact, depending on other factors such as his or her role in the burglary, he or she may be able to avoid jail and get alternative sentences such as probation or community service.

Role in the Crime

Even if your teenager was part of a gang that burglarized a house, he or she might have acted in a minor capacity. For example, there may have been a person to break the window, another one to act as a lookout and maybe another to drive the getaway cars. The judge or jury may place different weights on these actions, and those who are deemed to have acted minor roles may get lighter sentences. For example, your son or daughter may get a lighter sentence if he or she was the lookout rather than if he or she broke into the house.

Extreme Duress

Another factor that may be considered is whether or not the young person was forced to take part in the crime. If it emerges that he was under extreme duress, then he or she may escape with a lighter sentence. For example, if his or her friends had roughed him up and threatened to break his legs if he or she did not agree to join them, then the friends may face tougher sentences than your boy or girl.

Extreme Emotional or Mental Disturbance

In many cases, the mental or emotional status of the perpetrator may also be used to gauge how harsh the law should deal with him or her. If he or she weren't in his or her right mental or emotional state, then his or her sentence would be a bit lenient.

Consider a child who had recently lost a sibling due to illness and believes that burglarizing a home may provide him or her with the means to save an ailing mother. Even though his or her actions are still a crime, such a teenager may receive a more lenient sentence than another one without any mitigating circumstance.

Most crimes have designated maximum and minimum charges. Whether your child receives one or the other or even goes scot-free may depend on some of the factors discussed above.