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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.

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