How to Prepare for a Juvenile Criminal Defense in Illinois

St. Charles juvenile crimes defense attorney

Adults are not the only ones who make mistakes that could possibly land them inside a courtroom. Minor children can also make judgment errors that lead to criminal charges. For a juvenile, there are many aspects of a criminal case that are different, making it vital that both the defendant and his or her parents understand the process and the potential outcomes. However, it is just as important that the accused juvenile and his or her parents are aware of how they can help, or hurt, the child’s case. Juvenile criminal defense is much different than a defense for an adult, even if they are accused of the same crime.

Speak Openly With Your Lawyer

A juvenile defense attorney will need a lot of information from the defendant in order to help represent him or her in court. While some things may seem inconsequential, such as the juvenile's grades in school or a learning disability, these details could mean the difference between spending time in juvenile detention or being sentenced to community service or behavioral therapy. 

Be Respectful

How a juvenile presents him or herself to the court reflects his or her maturity level and willingness to learn from past mistakes. If he or she appears in court and is disrespectful to the judge or other authority figures, the sentence handed down may be steep. While the juvenile may still receive a long sentence for the criminal mistake depending on the crimes allegedly committed, he or she does not want to take any chances at a harsher sentence by being rude or disrespectful.  

Follow Through

In many cases, a juvenile criminal defense will require many steps to complete. Most of these steps will happen behind the scenes as a juvenile criminal defense attorney submits evidence, files motions, and reviews the prosecution’s case. 

There will be other steps that either the defendant or a parent will need to complete. It can be overwhelming to face criminal charges as a juvenile, but following through on his or her responsibilities can demonstrate to the court that he or she is taking the charges and the consequences seriously.

Dress Appropriately

It is also important to look mature and professional at any court appearance or hearing. While following through on tasks and being sincere when a juvenile is in court is important, he or she also needs to look the part. The defendant should wear something appropriate for a court of law. If he or she cannot afford to buy new attire, perhaps a friend or family member can loan him or her a proper outfit. 

Understand the Charges and Potential Consequences

If a juvenile has never been a part of the criminal justice system before being charged with a crime, he or she may not understand the process, or even what the charge means. For example, a charge of battery means physical harm, but many defendants are not aware of the actual definition of this crime. In addition, a criminal misconduct charge may be difficult to understand, because this is a vague-sounding term that could apply to many situations.

To understand the consequences a juvenile may face based on the crime or crimes for which he or she has been accused, he or she will need to understand those charges and the reasons for the accusations. A juvenile criminal defense attorney can help the defendant and his or her family grasp the significance of the charges as well as the penalties in order to prepare a proper defense.

Contact a St. Charles Juvenile Defense Attorney

Crimes committed as a minor may not always be intentional. If your child is facing juvenile charges, you need an experienced Illinois juvenile crimes defense lawyer to explain the potential consequences and the impact to your minor's record. The Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC has successfully handled many different types of juvenile cases. Our knowledgeable attorneys are ready to build the best possible defense against your juvenile’s alleged crimes. Call our office at 630-232-1780 to schedule a free consultation. 

 

Sources: 

https://scholarship.richmond.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2448&context=law-faculty-publications

https://harvardlawreview.org/2018/01/sixth-amendment-challenge-to-courthouse-dress-codes/

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution-conan/amendment-14/section-1/clarity-in-criminal-statutes-the-void-for-vagueness-doctrine