Tag Archives: Illinois juvenile law

St. Charles juvenile criminal defense attorney

Most adults will admit that they made some poor decisions in their youth. This may be attributed to the fact that the average human brain is still developing during adolescence. Research shows that a teenager’s prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for decision-making and risk management, is not fully formed until his or her mid-20s or later. This may be part of the reason that juveniles who are otherwise law-abiding citizens sometimes make impulsive decisions that lead to criminal charges. If your child has been arrested and charged with a crime, you may wonder whether or not he or she will be tried as an adult. Juveniles who are tried as adults are subject to adult criminal penalties that can dramatically impact their future.

When Are Juveniles Treated as Adults Under Illinois Law?

If a person is 17 years old or younger and is accused of a misdemeanor offense, he or she will most likely be tried in juvenile court. However, if a child is 16 years old or older, and he or she is charged with certain more serious offenses, he or she may automatically be tried in adult court. A criminal defendant aged 16 or 17 will be tried as an adult in Illinois if he or she is charged with homicide, aggravated battery involving the use of a firearm, or sexual assault. If the child is under 16 years old, the prosecution may request for the case to be transferred to adult court, but this transfer may not be granted. The child’s attorney will have the opportunity to argue against the child being tried as an adult.

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St. Charles juvenile crime defense attorney

Did you know that a person’s brain is not fully developed until he or she is approximately 25 years old? Scientific research has shown that a teenager’s brain functions differently than an adult brain. This may be one reason why some young people are more likely to make decisions based on emotions or impulses instead of weighing the long-term consequences of their actions. This type of reckless behavior can lead to mistakes that result in being charged with a crime. However, in certain situations, juveniles charged or convicted of criminal offenses may be eligible for a second chance. Criminal record expungement is one way that a teen can clear his or her name and move on to a brighter future after an arrest or a criminal offense.

Some Juvenile Offenses Are Expunged Automatically

Adult offenses and juvenile offenses are treated differently in the Illinois criminal justice system. In some circumstances, a juvenile record is expunged automatically. Illinois offenses that may be automatically expunged one year after the arrest include:

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St.Charles Juvenile Crimes LawyerIf you were arrested or convicted of any crimes as a minor, then you may qualify for juvenile expungement. Although not all crimes can be expunged, juvenile expungement will wipe your record clean of any crime you committed as a minor. The public will not be able to see these crimes, giving you a clean slate for adulthood. Your juvenile record may still be available to some government organizations or to employers in certain industries, such as law enforcement, education, childcare, or the healthcare industry. Most employers will not have access to the follies of your youth, enabling you to find quality employment.

How to Begin the Process

You will need to get copies of your juvenile records and ensure that all the cases are closed. Then, you and your attorney can review the documents and determine whether your records can be expunged. If so, there are forms that can be filled out and filed with the Circuit Clerk.

To expunge a Class A misdemeanor or felony, it must have been at least two years since the case ended, including the subsequent sentence and probation, if applicable. If you were found guilty of first-degree murder or a felony sex offense, those charges cannot be expunged. If you were convicted of crimes in another state, they would not qualify for expungement in Illinois.

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Illinois criminal defense attorneys

While it is widely known teens can be tried as adults in murder cases, they are sometimes tried in adult courts for drug violations or other crimes as well. Illinois is one of nine states in which anyone 15 years old and over could be automatically charged as an adult for certain drug-related crimes. 

Illinois also operates under a “once-an-adult, always-an-adult” law, meaning that if a juvenile has been charged as an adult on any crime in the past, they will be tried as an adult in every subsequent crime that he or she commits. It makes no difference what the crime is in this situation.

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Naperville criminal defense attorneys, expunging juvenile recordsThe Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission released a study last month addressing the expungement and sharing of juvenile criminal records in the state. In its report, the Commission found that in Illinois, juvenile record sharing and loose expungement laws have proven to be an obstacle to Illinois residents in obtaining an education, jobs and housing.

The Report

The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission was formed by lawmakers to report to the governor and legislature about juvenile justice issues. The Commission released a study in April, entitled "Burdened for Life: The Myth of Juvenile Record Confidentiality and Expungement in Illinois." Tens of thousands of juveniles are arrested each year in Illinois, most for minor, non-violent offenses. However, the sharing of their records and the difficulty of getting records expunged often causes a permanent obstacle to rehabilitation.

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