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Illinois Legislature Considering Raising the Age for Juvenile Offenses to 20 Years Old

May 2nd, 2016 at 7:56 am

Rolling Meadows juvenile offenses, Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense LawyerAcross the country, there is a significant amount of variability as to when a teen is charged as a juvenile when he or she commits a crime. In some states, criminals are charged as adults as early as 15 years old. In other states, the juvenile boundary is set at 16 years old while several states set the limit at 17 or 18. Currently, in Illinois, the age for juvenile jurisdiction is 18 years old. However, the Illinois Legislature is considering a pair of proposed bills that would raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction to the age of 20.

The Illinois Bills Behind the Change in Age

A pair of bills could make this age change a reality in Illinois. Under HB6308, the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 would be amended such that people under the age of 21, i.e., those who are 20 years old and younger, who are charged with misdemeanor offenses would be treated as delinquent minors. Similarly, HB6191 would amend the Juvenile Court Act so that those under the age of 21 who are charged with felonies would be treated as delinquent minors by the courts.

Benefits of Raising the Juvenile Jurisdiction Age

Research has been conducted on young adults and has found that the young adult brain is still relatively immature compared to a mature adult brain, and a young adult’s brain is more akin to a teenager’s brain than to a mature adult’s brain. To say this another way, the brain of a young adult is still developing into an adult’s in his or her early and mid-twenties. Young adults in their late teens may still have difficulty managing certain emotions or exercising sound judgement. This makes young adults prone to make criminal mistakes and they are more likely to get into trouble with the law. Such enlightening research lends support to the idea that the age for juvenile jurisdiction should be increased to the age of 20.

The benefits of such a change to the law would allow for young adults who make criminal mistakes in their teens to be treated less harshly and would allow offenders to have a juvenile record, which is a criminal record that often does not follow the offender into adulthood, making it easier for the individual to obtain a job later in life.

While the proposed bills for raising the juvenile jurisdiction age to 20 are still in their early stages of review by the legislature, if they were to pass into law, more young people would be charged as juveniles. If you have a young person in your life who is facing juvenile criminal charges, his or her defense should be handled by a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in juvenile matters criminal defense.

Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

When a young person gets into trouble with the law, it can be scary for the young person as well as his or her family members. Juvenile offenses are just as serious as adult charges, and should be treated with immediacy and diligence. Please contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer for help with your case. We can provide you with a consultation to learn more about your options.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocTypeID=HB&DocNum=6308&GAID=13&SessionID=88&LegID=95860

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1863&ChapterID=50&SeqStart=100000&SeqEnd=2300000

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocTypeID=HB&DocNum=6191&GAID=13&SessionID=88&LegID=95731

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-teen-brain-still-under-construction/index.shtml

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Written by Staff Writer

May 2nd, 2016 at 7:56 am

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