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FAQs About the Juvenile Justice System

September 4th, 2017 at 10:01 am

juvenile charges, juvenile crimes, juvenile justice system, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyerRoughly 100 years ago a juvenile justice system was established in the United States in order to divert young offenders away from the standard criminal justice system and into an alternative system focused on rehabilitation. Today the juvenile justice system still places great importance on rehabilitation. Yet nowadays the system also focuses on punishment, accountability, and promoting public safety as well.

It is also important to note that today each state has it has own juvenile justice system and that each of these 51 systems embraces slightly different objective and operates slightly differently. Therefore, any case specific questions relating to the juvenile justice system in Illinois should be directed to a local juvenile charges defense lawyer. Still, some frequently asked questions about the juvenile justice system at large have been answered below.

Q: How does the juvenile justice system differ from adult courts?

A: The Illinois juvenile justice system differs from adult courts in a number of different ways but some notable difference include the following:

  • In the juvenile system, offenders are not prosecuted for committing “crimes” but are charged with “delinquent acts” instead;
  • Juveniles do not have a public trial but instead have a private adjudication hearing;
  • When a judge in the juvenile system is determining what steps should be taken after a minor is deemed to be delinquent the minor’s best interests are taken into account;
  • Juvenile adjudication hearings are much more informal than trials conducted in the adult system; and
  • The juvenile system embraces alternative sentences (such as parole, probation, diversionary programs, etc.) in cases where the adult system likely would not.

Q: Who can be tried as a juvenile in Illinois?

A: Generally speaking, a juvenile who commits a crime in Illinois before his or her 18th birthday will be tried in the juvenile system. However, under Illinois’ Juvenile Court Act minors who are 15, 16, or 17 years old may be tried as an adult if they are charged with certain serious crimes such as first degree murder, aggravated vehicular hijacking, aggravated sexual assault, etc.

Q: Are juvenile delinquency hearings confidential?

A: Here in Illinois, juvenile delinquency hearings are presumptively closed.

Q: Can juvenile records be expunged in Illinois?

A: Juvenile records in Illinois are sealed when the offender becomes an adult. This means that certain entities (such as most potential employers) will not have access to the record, however, other entities (such as law enforcement organizations and the military) will be able to view it. However, the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission notes that an Illinois juvenile record can be expunged if the offender is at least 17 years old (or 18 if the record contains a misdemeanor offense) and the youth:

  • Was arrested but not charged;
  • Was charged but not found to be delinquent;
  • Completed court supervision; or
  • Was found delinquent for a business offense, a petty offense, or a misdemeanor offense.

Additionally, some juvenile felony records can also be expunged, however some can not. Whether or not a felony juvenile record can be expunged is highly case specific, so be sure to direct questions about expunging a juvenile felony record to a local juvenile charges defense attorney.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Juvenile Charges Defense Attorney

If your child has had a run in with the law in Illinois you likely have a lot of questions. At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley our experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys would be happy to answer your questions and advise you of your child’s legal options during an initial consultation at our office.

Source:

http://www.icjia.state.il.us/assets/pdf/ResearchReports/IL_Juvenile_Justice_System_Walkthrough_0810.pdf

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