Practice Areas ➤ Juvenile Arrests
A juvenile is anyone who is younger than the statutory age of majority, which, in Illinois, is 18 years old. This is considered the point in a person’s life when they are no longer considered a child, but instead treated as an adult.
When it comes to criminal acts, those under the age of 18 are tried in juvenile court. However, in some scenarios, those who are still considered juveniles may be prosecuted in adult court. The Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice handles juvenile crimes. If a juvenile is convicted in the Chicago area, they could be sent to the Illinois Youth Center Chicago which houses approximately 100 youth.
Juveniles are treated differently than those over the age of 18 when it comes to criminal offenses primarily because minors are not typically viewed as having criminal intent. Minors are still heavily impressionable, which is why juvenile courts and detention centers are primarily aimed at rehabilitating the youth. However, a juvenile criminal conviction can drastically affect future opportunities, which is why it is vital to fight these charges.
When is a juvenile crime an adult crime?
Not all crimes committed by juveniles remain in the juvenile court system. When a minor is alleged of a serious offense, such as a federal crime or a violent felony, they may be prosecuted as an adult. This means they are transferred to the adult court system, and now face the same penalties that an adult would. Strong legal representation is critical to ensure that the juvenile’s rights are protected, even if they are being treated as an adult.
The penalties are harsher and the sentences can be longer and stricter for adults. Unfortunately, prosecuting juveniles as adults may have a negative effect on these youths. By prematurely pushing underage children into the adult criminal system, there may be an increased likelihood of repeat offenses. How will you know if your juvenile’s case will be handled in adult or juvenile court? Many variables make this a case-by-case scenario. If an individual under the age of 18 is arrested, law enforcement will decide whether to dismiss the case, informally handle the case or refer the case to juvenile court.
The decision will be based upon factors such as prior offenses, the juvenile’s compliance with law enforcement and the facts of the case. While the case is being processed, the juvenile could be held at a youth detention facility until the time of their hearing. Typically, these hearings take place within 24 hours of the arrest. This means time is important, and the longer you wait to hire an experienced lawyer, the more likely it may be that your child’s arrest could get transferred to the adult court system.
Any juvenile arrest is a serious charge with serious consequences, and the longer you wait to hire a lawyer, the more difficult it will be to protect your rights and fight your case. Consult with Joshua Kutnick as soon as possible to begin defending yourself against these serious accusations. We have represented numerous people accused of crimes over the years, often with very successful results. Contact us today at 312-441-0211 and schedule a consultation. Let us protect you and your rights.