Naperville Criminal Lawyers for Juveniles Tried as Adults
Juvenile Crimes Defense Attorneys in St. Charles, Kane County, and Northern Illinois
In general, crimes committed by juveniles are seen by the Illinois legal system as less serious than those committed by adults. Juveniles are more likely to be routed out of the formal legal system as authorities look for options to rehabilitate juvenile offenders rather than incarcerate them. However, in some circumstances, the courts may choose to try a juvenile as an adult. If you or someone you care about is a juvenile who may face adult criminal charges, it is essential that you speak to a knowledgeable and experienced juvenile and adult criminal attorney to understand the ramifications of these charges and any options that may be available to you.
Who Can Be Tried as an Adult?
In 2014, Illinois formally raised the age an individual must be when committing most crimes to be considered an “adult” in the eyes of the law. Most misdemeanors and many felony crimes will be considered juvenile crimes as long as the person charged with them was 16 years old or younger when he or she is believed to have committed the crime. However, there are certain circumstances under which an individual is automatically charged as an adult, even though he or she was not 17 years old.
Crimes Carrying Adult Charges
If the defendant was 15 years of age or older and the crime is any of the following, he or she will be automatically charged as an adult:
- First-degree murder
- Aggravated criminal sexual assault
- Aggravated robbery with a firearm if the individual shot the firearm
- Aggravated vehicular hijacking with the use of a firearm
- Certain crimes related to the possession or sale of weapons near school property
If a defendant was 13 years of age or older and is accused first-degree murder that took place during aggravated kidnapping, aggravated criminal sexual assault, or sexual assault, that defendant will also face adult charges despite being a juvenile.
Why Does It Matter?
Being charged as an adult means facing adult penalties. The crimes that result in automatic transfers to adult court are some of the most serious crimes, crimes that carry serious, life-altering penalties. The repercussions a defendant could potentially face become much more severe when the case is moved to the adult legal system.
If you or someone you love is a juvenile who may be tried as an adult, there is no time to waste. At Donahue & Sowa, our team has extensive experience in criminal defense, both for juvenile clients and adult clients. We can help you understand your options and mount a vigorous defense. Contact us today to get started. Our clients can be found in St. Charles, Naperville, Kane County, Will County, Cook County, and throughout Illinois.