Crystal Lake Juvenile Crime Lawyers
Attorneys Serving McHenry County & the Surrounding Areas
The Illinois juvenile justice system is designed to address crimes committed by minors. Although the separate system is intended to provide more rehabilitative opportunities and keep “juvenile delinquents” separate from adult offenders, the consequences of a finding of guilt can still be serious.
For example, a juvenile offender may be sentenced to a juvenile detention center, much in the same way an adult offender would be sentenced to jail. In addition, a juvenile criminal record can have an unanticipated impact. Though many people believe that juvenile records are automatically sealed when the defendant reaches the age of 18, most juvenile records are never sealed.
In short, the fact that a minor has been charged as a juvenile does not mean that the charge is less serious, or that you can afford to leave the child’s fate in the hands of the prosecution.
Who is Tried as a Juvenile?
Most people who are accused of having committed a crime and are under the age of 18 will be tried as juveniles. However, there are a number of circumstances under which a minor may be tried in the criminal court system. For example:
- The juvenile court system has concurrent jurisdiction with regard to traffic, boating, and fish and game-related violations, as well as violations of local ordinances.
- A juvenile 16 years or older will be charged and tried as an adult if accused of one of a handful of very serious crimes, including aggravated murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and certain firearm crimes.
- A juvenile aged 15 or older accused of a forcible felony will be transferred to the criminal court system upon petition by the prosecutor, if certain criteria are met.
- A juvenile aged 13 or older may, at the judge’s discretion, be transferred to the criminal court system upon motion of the prosecutor.
Prior adjudications are a factor in determining whether a minor will remain in the juvenile court system or be transferred to criminal court, and may also lead to adjudication as an habitual juvenile offender. As such, even seemingly-minor adjudications that carry few immediate consequences can put a teen at risk.
Adjudication as an Habitual or Violent Juvenile Offender
Under certain circumstances, a juvenile who is being decided delinquent for a second violent crime may be adjudicated a “violent juvenile offender.” Similarly, a juvenile being adjudicated delinquent for the third time may be deemed an “habitual juvenile offender,” if the third adjudication involves a crime specified in the statute, such as burglary of a home or robbery.
Adjudication as an habitual juvenile offender or a violent juvenile offender will result in detention under the juvenile’s 21st birthday.
Responsibility of Parents
In an adult criminal proceeding, the court has jurisdiction only over those charged with a crime. However, in the juvenile court system, parents play an important role, and may be subject to certain court orders, such as mandatory attendance at family counseling sessions.
Legal Issues Related to Juvenile Crimes
In many cases, juvenile crimes go hand in hand with other legal issues. For example, a juvenile accused of committing a crime on school grounds or at an extracurricular event may also be facing disciplinary action through the school or school district, such as expulsion. Although many parents do not think to consult an attorney about disciplinary proceedings, our juvenile defense attorneys can assist with this type of relating proceeding as well.
Give Your Child the Advantage of an Experienced Juvenile Court Lawyer
The consequences of an adjudication of juvenile delinquency may be more serious than you imagine, both in terms of direct sentencing and the lasting impact of the adjudication. If your child is facing allegations of delinquency, give your family the advantage of a knowledgeable advocate.
You can take the first step right now, by scheduling a consultation with one of our juvenile crimes attorneys.