Archive for the ‘Juvenile Crime’ Category

Juvenile Crime Law: Give Our Kids a Chance in 2017

May 22nd, 2017 at 8:50 am

juvenile crime law, juvenile criminal offenses-Rolling Meadows Criminal Law AttorneyWith the signing of State Bill 2777, it is now prohibited for a juvenile to be committed to a juvenile detention center for a crime that is not a felony, and even for some nonviolent felonies. This change in the law comes as a sweeping initiative is taking hold in the Illinois legislature, moving away from the tough on crime policies that have caused an exploding prison population in Illinois.

“There has been a recognition that our system of justice needs to be more just and less retribution-focused,” said Rep. Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove.” This is coming as bi-partisan efforts to keep our children out of the prison system have begun to take hold in our criminal justice system.

Which Juvenile Crimes Does This New Law Effect?

The new law effects juveniles who have been convicted of misdemeanor crimes. Misdemeanor crimes include misdemeanor theft, misdemeanor possession of marijuana, simple battery, and trespassing.   

Why Now?

Illinois lawmakers have been grappling with the rising population of juveniles who go from juvenile detention centers directly into adult detention centers. Juveniles who are sentenced for misdemeanor crimes, and find themselves becoming adult offenders without having a meaningful opportunity to rejoin society, have a high societal cost and an extremely heavy financial burden on the state of Illinois.

Lawmakers have anticipated that the new change in the law will save approximately $4.5 million dollars that the state of Illinois must pay to house the 110 kids that are admitted to juvenile detention centers, on average, every year.

Is That the Only Juvenile Criminal Law That Has Changed?

House Bill 6291 is another law that changed in 2017. This change in the law prohibits a juvenile from being committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice for certain controlled substance violations unless it is his or her third or subsequent judicial finding of a probation violation.

Another goal of this bill is to change the minimum probation period for youths who have been adjudicated delinquent. “We need to approach our criminal justice system with more compassion,” said Illinois Governor Rauner.” It is time the state starts treating our youth who struggle with addiction with various treatment programs instead of sending them to jail.

Do I Still Need a Lawyer?

Even with the changes in the law, it is still important to have dedicated and experienced legal counsel on your side when you have been arrested and charged with a crime. Contact your experienced Rolling Meadows criminal law attorney at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200.

Sources:

https://www.riverbender.com/articles/details/rauner-signs-bills-to-further-reforms-to-illinois-criminal-justice-system-14779.cfm#.WP_EqtLytqM

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-illinois-juvenile-justice-new-laws-met-20151230-story.html

When Juveniles Commit a Theft That Turns Into Residential Burglary

April 28th, 2017 at 1:42 pm

residential burglary, Rolling Meadows Juvenile Crime LawyerAs the weather begins to warm up, many homeowners in the area will open their doors and garages to allow the sunshine in and to air out their homes after a long, cold winter. In suburbia, it is not uncommon for people to leave their garage doors open during the daytime, and to even leave them open without supervision.

While normally such behavior should be safe, open doors can be inviting, especially to juveniles. Take, for example, a group of teenagers who see an open and apparently unguarded garage and enter in search for beer. One teen in the group might dare another to go steal the beer or something else from the open garage. Under pressure from his or her friends, the unfortunate teen will enter the garage and commit the theft.

When Theft Turns Into Residential Burglary

The teen who steals the beer from the garage, however, has done more than merely commit a theft. Because the teen entered the garage of another without permission, and with the intent to steal the beer, the criminal charges the teen can face will likely be upgraded to residential burglary. Why is the upcharge so bad for a teen? Residential burglary is a felony level offense, even if the offender is only a juvenile.

While someone who is under 18 years of age will likely face juvenile charges for his or her theft of the beer from someone’s garage, it is still a serious matter. When it comes to juveniles who commit offenses, the courts have a lot of discretion in terms of how the juvenile offender should be punished. The potential punishments that a convicted juvenile delinquent could face include:

  • Having to pay a fine;
  • Having to pay restitutions to the victim of the residential burglary;
  • Having to attend mandatory counseling sessions or therapy sessions;
  • Being put on probation, which means that the juvenile avoids detention (the juvenile equivalent of jail), but is required to comply with a number of terms, i.e., rules, that are part of his or her probation;
  • Being placed in juvenile detention, weekend detentions, or mandatory community service-type work programs.

Juveniles sometimes make poor decisions and exercise bad judgement. They also can make mistakes about the criminality of the things they do. First time juvenile delinquents are often treated with more leniency by the court than repeat offenders. Any young person facing theft of burglary charges needs to consult with a juvenile offenses lawyer immediately.

Juvenile Delinquents Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

A juvenile charged with a crime needs a strong criminal defense lawyer fighting for his or her rights. Contact an experienced Rolling Meadows juvenile crime lawyer for assistance with your case.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K19-3

Frightening Facts About Juveniles and Crime in Illinois

October 18th, 2016 at 7:00 am

juveniles and crime, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneyTeens and young adults sometimes make poor decisions. As a result, they may end up being charged with a crime. Teens may even be involved in criminal activities on a regular basis when they are caught, or they may be first-time offenders. If your teen is involved in a crime, speaking with a skilled criminal defense attorney is essential.

Teens, Crime, and the Statistics

Many crimes that are committed by juveniles occur while they are at school. For instance, according to a 2014 National Report on Juvenile Offenders produced by the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, some frightening statistics about juveniles and crime while in school in Illinois include:

  • 3.9 percent of juveniles questioned reported having taken a weapon to school with them within the past 30 days prior to being surveyed;
  • 7.6 percent reported having been threatened in school by a weapon possessed by a classmate;
  • 3.3 percent of juveniles reported that they had used alcohol while on school property within the past 30 days;
  • 4.7 percent of juveniles reported using marijuana while at school; and
  • 27.3 percent reported being offered illegal drugs or alcohol while at school.

These statistics show that young people are exposed to a lot of opportunities to engage in criminal activities, even while they are in school. A number of other crimes often occur on school grounds as well, such as assaults, batteries, school-ground fights, thefts, bullying, and harassment.

When Teens Get Into Trouble At School

Teens are subjected to peer pressure, and because they are not good at exercising sound judgement, good kids can make bad choices—they are influenced by their peers. A lot of kids make bad choices and commit crimes because they want to appear cool to their friends, or are going through tough issues at home and are acting out. There are several reasons why teens make the decisions that they do, and they often do not have the foresight to understand the consequences of their actions.

When a teen gets into criminal trouble while in school, there are many consequences. The teen could be suspended or expelled from the school, and criminal charges could be pressed against the teen. If convicted, the teen could have a criminal record. These are all very serious consequences that can have a long-lasting impact on a young person’s life. The teen could have trouble finishing school, could develop a reputation as a troublemaker within the school, or could have difficulty getting accepted to college.

Contact Us Today for Help

Do not let your teen’s misguided mistake turn into a lifetime of harsh consequences. One youthful mistake could haunt your teen for many years to come in the future. If your child has been charged with a crime, it is important to diligently and aggressively fight the charges. Do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. Our office can help you today. Call 847-394-3200.

Source:

http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/nr2014/downloads/NR2014.pdf

Drug Charges for High Schoolers

August 20th, 2016 at 5:00 am

Drug Charges for High SchoolersOne of the most devastating things a parent can have to deal with is a situation in which their son or daughter is caught with drugs at school. Not only might you as a parent be disillusioned by the whole ordeal, but you are most likely consumed with worry about your son or daughter’s future as well. Whether your child was involved in drug activity at school, was caught selling drugs, or was found in possession of drugs, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer for your child immediately. This is important because your child could be convicted of juvenile drug charges, or if your child is 18 years of age or older, but is still in high school, your child could be charged as an adult.

Teens Will Find Access To Drugs

It is unfortunate, but most teens will be exposed to some sort of drug activity while they are in high school. They might be offered drugs, they might know or watch a friend take drugs, or they may become involved in drug activity, such as buying and selling drugs. These things happen because teens don’t always make the best decisions, and sometimes they agree to things because they want to seem cool to their peers. Teens are driven by social acceptance, and so they might be pressured into taking, doing or selling drugs at school.

It is not uncommon for teens to get into trouble for having marijuana in their possession, or for selling controlled substances, such as medication for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Some teens get involved with very serious drugs, like heroin or methamphetamines.

Drug Charges That High School Teens Can Face

Teens can find themselves in trouble with the law for a number of different drug offenses. Most commonly, high school students get in trouble for possession of marijuana or possession of another controlled substance. They also get into trouble for selling drugs to classmates. This is a particularly bad situation for a student charged with a drug offense since the court has the ability to double the student’s sentencing if the student was selling drugs near a school. There are state laws that require school zones to be drug-free zones. In Illinois, the drug-free school zone extends 1,000 feet from the school property. This also means that school buses are drug-free zones as well.

Let Our Attorneys Help You Today

It is important to fight juvenile drug charges since your son or daughter’s future depends on it. A drug conviction could lead to problems down the road. If your high-school aged child has been charged with a drug-related crime, please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows juvenile crime lawyer immediately. Our attorneys are here to assist you every step of the case.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1941&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=100000&SeqEnd=600000

Juvenile Traffic Offenses Can Lead to Loss of License

November 19th, 2015 at 3:27 pm

Illinois juvenile crimes attorney, Illinois traffiv violations lawyer, Illinois defense attorney,One of the most exciting things about becoming a young adult is that teens can obtain driving privileges. Starting as early as age 15, teens can apply for a driver’s permit, and can work their way up through the graduated driver’s license program offered by the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles. After the permit phase is complete, or when a teen reaches the age of 16, teens aged 16-17 can enter the initial licensing phase, and once a teen turns 18, he or she can enter the full licensing phase. So long as teens comply with the rules set forth concerning the permit phase and/or the initial licensing phase, they can keep happily driving wherever they want to go.

Traffic Violations Impact Teens’ Ability to Drive

However, receiving a citation for a driving offense can impact or endanger a teen’s driving privileges. Juvenile traffic offenses, such as the following, may endanger the privilege of driving:

  • Receiving a moving violation conviction while in the permit phase of the graduated license program means that a teen driver will have to wait an extra nine months before he or she can apply for the initial licensing phase.
  • Similarly, getting caught driving without a permit will leave a teen ineligible for a driver’s license until the age of 18.
  • Permit holder teens driving in violation of the nighttime driving restrictions, codified by 625 ILCS 5/6-107(b), can result in a suspension of a teen’s driving privileges.
  • While a driver is under the age of 21, if the young driver gets two driving offense convictions within a 24 month period then under 625 ILCS 5/6-206(a)(36) the young driver will end up with a suspension of his or her driver’s license.
  • Any young driver whose driver’s license is suspended will have to pay a reinstatement fee of $70.
  • When a teen goes to get his or her driver’s license, if there are any unresolved traffic citations, a driver’s license will not be issued.

Driving without a License

Driving without a license can land a teen in a lot of trouble. A teen is not permitted to drive without a valid license in Illinois, which means that if the teen does not have one, or it is suspended or revoked, he or she is not supposed to operate a vehicle. Even if the teen has a valid license, but he or she just does not have it with him or her at the time the teen is pulled over by law enforcement, he or she can be cited for driving without a driver’s license.

If a teen is caught driving without a license, if he or she is not able to prove that he or she does in fact hold a valid license, the teen will be subject to a license suspension. What this means is that the teen’s ability to apply for a driver’s license in the future is suspended for a period of time. Even if the teen has never held a driver’s license to begin with, his or her ability to apply for one would be suspended. Driving without a license can result in a Class B misdemeanor, while driving with a suspended or revoked license is a Class A misdemeanor.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you are a teen or have a teen who has gotten a traffic violation which could impact his or her driving privileges, please do not hesitate to contact an experienced Rolling Meadows juvenile matters lawyer immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Our phone number is (847) 394-3200.

 

Source:

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/teen_driver_safety/gdl.html

Weapons in Schools: When Children Exercise Poor Judgement

October 21st, 2015 at 7:43 am

Illinois juvenile crimes attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal lawyer, Weapons in schools is an issue that teachers, professors, principals, and school districts do not take lightly, and often any student who brings a weapon into the classroom faces severe consequences for this juvenile offense. A school can be any place of learning, which includes public and private educational institutions ranging from elementary level to college or university.

Severity of Punishment Tied to the Type of Weapon

Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/24-1(c) specifically addresses how no one may bring weapons into a school, carry weapons on a school bus, or even have a weapon within 1,000 feet of a school. The punishments associated with these crimes vary depending on the threat or potential danger associated with the weapon.

  • Guns, rifles and bombs. Under the statute, if a person brings a weapon into a school, such as a gun, rifle, or a bomb, that person will be charged with a Class 2 felony, and faces between three and seven years of jail time;
  • Pistols, revolvers, stun guns and tasers. When the weapon that is brought into a school is a pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser (and some ballistic knives), the offense results in a Class 3 felony; and
  • Hand-held type weapons. Bringing hand-held type weapons, such as bludgeons, brass knuckles, throwing stars, knives, stilettos, razors, dangerous pieces of glass, switch blades, and any spring-loaded, or cannister-powered projectile weapons, into a school results in a Class 4 felony.

What Other Items Have Been Considered to Be A “Weapon”?

While there are the more traditional things we think of to be weapons, such as knives, guns, etc. there are some less obvious things that have also been considered to be weapons according to teachers, school administrators, and the courts. For example, tools, such as pliers, wrenches, screwdrivers and box cutters were considered to be “weapons” according to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division in Douglas Bartlett v. City of Chicago School District #299 et al., (Case No. 1:13-cv-02862 (Ill. N. D. 2014)). However, it should be noted that in the Bartlett case, the person who brought the alleged “weapons” to school was a teacher, and not a student.

While state law does specifically define certain types of weapons that are not permitted in schools, case law in the state indicates that there are many other items that, if brought to school, could be construed as a weapon.

When Children Face Weapons Charges

With all of the scary media coverage of school shootings, it is frightful to think that kids would take weapons to school. But only a relatively small number of cases where students bring weapons to school result in the student using the weapon to hurt others. More often, a student will bring a weapon to school to show their friends, or might do it on a dare, without the intention of hurting anyone. Sometimes a student will take a weapon to school because they think they need it for self-defense against a bully. Children do not necessarily understand the full impact that taking a weapon into a school has.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If your child exercised poor judgement and brought a weapon to school, or if your child brought something that he or she felt was harmless to the school and is now facing weapons accusations from the school, please do not hesitate to contact a passionate Rolling Meadows juvenile crimes lawyer immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 for help today

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K24-1

https://www.rutherford.org/files_images/general/04-17-2014_Dow-Opinion.pdf

Illinois Zero Tolerance Policy for Underage Drunk Driving

September 16th, 2015 at 7:22 am

Illinois juvenile crimes attorney, Illinois DUI attorney, Illinois defense lawyer,Illinois has very strict laws when it comes to underage individuals driving under the influence of alcohol. Illinois is a zero tolerance state, meaning that if an underage driver is asked by law enforcement to submit to a chemical test and it is discovered that the underage driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of anything other than zero, the underagedriver will be subject to penalties.

Under Illinois’ zero tolerance law, when a law enforcement officer makes a traffic stop and the driver is under the age of 21 and the officer has reason to suspect that the driver may be operating the vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the officer can require that the underage driver submit to a chemical test. Any concentration of alcohol in the test results will result in the underage driver being arrested and processed for driving under the influence (DUI).

There are different levels of driving under the influence when it comes to underage drivers. There is driving under the influence in violation of the zero tolerance law, 625 ILCS 5/11-501.8, which means the underage driver has a BAC of 0.01 or higher, and there is driving under the influence in violation of the state’s DUI laws, 625 ILCS 5/11-501, which means that the underage driver was operating the vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 or higher.

Conviction Under The Zero Tolerance Law Means Loss of License

When an underage driver is convicted of driving under the influence, the consequences vary depending on whether it is a first time offense, the driver’s BAC, and whether the underage driver refused the chemical testing.

  • A first-time violation of the zero tolerance law results in the loss of driving privileges for a period of three months. A second violation is a year.
  • A first-time violation of the zero tolerance law, and refusing to submit to the chemical test, results in the loss of driving privileges for a period of six months. A second violation is two years.
  • A first-time violation of the DUI laws as an underage driver results in the loss of driving privileges for a period of six months. A second violation is a year.
  • A first-time violation of the DUI laws, and refusing to submit to the chemical test, results in the loss of driving privileges for a period of 12 months. A second violation is three years.

Defending against Alleged Zero Tolerance Law Violations

There may be a legitimate and legal reason that an underage driver has alcohol in their system. Many prescription medications contain alcohol as an active ingredient, and an underage driver may have taken the medication before getting behind the wheel. It is also possible that the underage driver has alcohol in his or her system as a result of a religious service or ceremony. These are two exceptions to the zero tolerance law that can be argued as reasons for why the underage driver had alcohol in his or her system under 625 ILCS 5/11-501.8(e).

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you or someone you love has been charged with a zero tolerance law violation or a DUI in Illinois, it is important that you aggressively fight the charges. Feel free to contact an experienced Rolling Meadows juvenile defense lawyer immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 for a consultation on your case.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/062500050K11-501.8.htm

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/062500050K11-501.8.htm

Juvenile Crime: Even Minor Offenses Can Have Huge Impact on Your Child’s Future

September 2nd, 2015 at 7:04 pm

Illinois juvenile crimes attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorney,All too often, good kids get involved with a bad crowd and end up getting into trouble with the law. The crimes are usually the result of a moment of poor judgement (sometimes very poor judgement), but are not overly serious offenses. When teens get arrested for acts of vandalism, such as defacing property or damaging property, it can upset the whole family and can affect the teen’s life in unforeseen ways in the future.

Defacement of Property

One of the most common crimes committed by teens involves acts of vandalism or the defacement of property through graffiti art, marking or painting someone else’s property. Teens can face serious consequences, under 720 ILCS 5/21-1.3, if they are caught by police. For instance:

  • A first offense that causes less than $300 worth of damage is a Class B misdemeanor, and is punishable by a fine of up to $1,500 and up to six months of jail time;
  • A second or subsequent offense that causes less than $300 worth of damage is a Class A misdemeanor, and is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and up to 12 months of jail time; and
  • Charges are upgraded to a Class 3 felony when the defacement occurs to a school, church or farm equipment, which means the consequences are upgraded as well. Offenders face two to five years of jail time and a fine of up to $25,000.

Criminal Damage to Property

Another common crime committed by teens is damage to property. This may include destroying property by hitting it with a vehicle, shooting it with an air rifle or BB gun, or a number of other activities that destroys or damages the property of others. Depending how serious the damage to property is, under 720 ILCS 5/21-1 a teen can face misdemeanor or felony charges, jail time, and fines.

Juvenile Crimes Can Affect Your Child’s Future

It is important to fight charges of damage to property or defacement because juvenile convictions can have lasting impacts on a teen’s life. Juvenile courts have significant discretion over juvenile cases, so it is critical to consult with an experienced, local juvenile vandalism criminal defense attorney. Some of the most significant impacts to a teen’s life after a juvenile criminal conviction include:

  • Jail time;
  • Fines;
  • Difficulty getting a job in the future;
  • Developing a bad reputation;
  • The inability to work in certain types of industries (for example, child care providers often conduct background checks on prospective hires, and will not employ a person with any criminal history at all); and
  • In some cases, scholarships for college could be lost.

Contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

A criminal conviction, even as a juvenile, can have a serious impact on a teen’s future. It is important that you defend against the charges and fight for your rights. You need to get into contact with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 for a consultation.

 

Sources:

www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt.+21%2C+Subdiv.+1&ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=64600000&SeqEnd=65400000

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt.+21%2C+Subdiv.+1&ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=64600000&SeqEnd=65400000

Juvenile Drug Court: An Option for Some Teens

May 4th, 2015 at 5:42 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinios juvenile crime attorney,Part of being a teenager is testing boundaries and experimenting with new experiences. Unfortunately, some teenagers choose to push the boundaries of the law and experiment with illegal substances. For some of these young people the only real consequences are the consequences of getting caught, but others find themselves with serious drug problems. There are legal steps that can be taken in order to help these juveniles get the drug treatment they need.

The Juvenile Drug Court Treatment Act

The legislature found that a substantial portion of the resources of Illinois’ juvenile justice system went to young people who were using and abusing drugs. In response, it passed the Juvenile Drug Court Treatment Act. Drug courts in the adult system are special court programs designed to get drug offenders the treatment and life skills they need instead of using taxpayer funds just to lock them up for a short period of time and then release them with their drug addiction still in full force. In the adult system these programs are typically run on the local level. They involve drug treatment, programs to help adult drug offenders find employment, and often involve community service aspects. They are usually much more intensive than many other outpatient treatment options. Drug courts can also, when appropriate, order offenders to do inpatient treatment. Often when offenders successfully complete these programs they receive some benefit when it comes to their criminal charges such as a lessened punishment or even in some cases a complete dismissal. The idea of the Juvenile Drug Court Treatment Act was to create a similar sort of program for young people who are having their cases heard in juvenile court and thus normally would not be eligible for adult drug court programs.

What Minors Can Get into Drug Courts?

The important thing about drug court is that neither side can be forced into it. Both the minor charged with a crime and the prosecutor involved must agree to drug court, and the court must approve it as well. Certain juvenile offenders automatically cannot be considered for drug court under Illinois law. These include:

  • Juveniles who are charged with crimes of violence, which include but are not limited to: first or second degree murder, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, criminal sexual assault, armed robbery, aggravated arson, arson, aggravated kidnapping, kidnapping, aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm or permanent disability, stalking, aggravated stalking, or any offense involving the discharged of a firearm;
  • Juveniles who deny their use or addiction to drugs;
  • Juveniles who do not demonstrate a willingness to participate in treatment; and
  • Juveniles who have been found delinquent at any point in the last 10 years because of one of the crimes of violence listed above.

What Happens if a Minor Successfully Completes Drug Court

If a minor is admitted into a drug court program and then he or she successfully completes the program, this can benefit his or her juvenile charges. One possible result can be a dismissal of charges. If the juvenile enters the drug court after admitting to the charges and being sentenced, finishing drug court can count as a successful completion of the sentence and the juvenile can be discharged from any further proceedings in the court.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley Today

When your child is facing drug charges, you need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows juvenile criminal defense attorney. There are programs for juveniles that can be used to get them the help that they need rather than focusing on punishment alone. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at (847)394-3200.

Juvenile Justice System: Some Juveniles Are Tried as Adults in Illinois

April 16th, 2015 at 5:49 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinios juvenile crime attorney, We have two different systems in Illinois that deal with criminal justice: one for adults and one for juveniles under the age of 18. Cook County was one of the first places in the country to do this, realizing that children, by their very nature, are capable of changing their nature. Their brains, including their ability to control their impulses, are not fully developed, so they are not as culpable for their bad actions as their older counterparts. Unfortunately, some of these young people in Illinois are treated as adults despite the fact that this treatment is not supported by science.

The Juvenile Justice System in Illinois

The treatment of juveniles accused of crimes is covered in Illinois by the Juvenile Court Act. One of the goals of the act is supposed to be to provide individualized assessments and adjudications in juvenile cases with the goal of rehabilitation and preventing future delinquent behavior by juveniles. This can involve detention in some circumstances, but also involves diversion programs. In other words, unlike criminal prosecutions that are based almost exclusively on the ideas of punishment, revenge, and isolation of offenders from society, the juvenile system exists so as to change childhood bad behavior so that young people may improve their behavior and work well in society. The children found responsible for crimes under the juvenile system face a different punishment system from their adult counterparts, and they have stronger privacy rights including the ability to have their records shielded from public view.

Some Juvenile Offenders are Forced into the Adult System

Unfortunately, some of the most troubled juvenile offenders do not receive the benefit of the juvenile system. A portion of the Juvenile Court Act excludes certain minors from the protections of the law. Minors aged 15, 16, or 17 may not be judged in the juvenile system if they are accused of certain crimes. These crimes include first degree murder, aggravated sexual assault, certain types of aggravated battery with a firearm, armed robbery committed with a firearm, and aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm. In all fairness, these crimes are some of the most serious violent crimes on the books. But, while the crimes may be more serious, this does not indicate in anyway that the minors committing them are somehow more mature and developed than their peers who are committing less serious felonies like burglary or selling drugs. If anything, committing these sorts of crimes may demonstrate that a particular young person is not fully matured and does not yet have the impulse control of an adult.

Particularly troubling, however, is the sentencing for these crimes. If a young person charged with his or her first burglary were charged as adult, which cannot happen, the worst case scenario would involve the minor spending a few years in confinement. But when a 15-year-old is prosecuted as an adult for one of the serious charges mentioned in the previous paragraph, he or she faces sentences that are often so long that they act as de facto life sentences.

As a society we need to reconsider allowing juveniles to be tried as adults in criminal court. But in the meantime both juveniles and their parents need to understand the serious adult consequences they could face if charged with certain crimes.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If your child has been charged with a crime, you will need an experienced Rolling Meadows juvenile criminal defense attorney. This is especially true if your child is charged as an adult. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at (847)394-3200.