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Archive for the ‘juvenile crimes’ tag

New Bill Could Lead to More Cases Tried in Juvenile Court

June 13th, 2018 at 4:18 pm

juvenile court, juvenile crimes, juvenile incarceration, probation, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneyEveryone makes mistakes, but minors and young adults are prone to doing so because they are learning and developing. Of course, mistakes often have consequences, but they should not alter the course of a person’s life.

A new bill introduced by State Representative Laura Fine would let judges decide if misdemeanor cases of 18, 19, and 20-year-olds could be tried in juvenile court, rather than adult court, according to WSIL-TV.

Rep. Fine stated the bill was introduced to focus on misdemeanors to “give kids who make a mistake a second chance.” Science tells us that the brain is not fully developed until around the age of 26. Therefore, a young adult might not be in complete control for his or her crimes. The purpose is to not excuse criminal behavior, but to give the young adult the chance to rehabilitate through juvenile court rather than face the harsher penalties imposed in regular court.

Support for the Bill

This bill has a lot of support from groups like the Americans Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Illinois Parent Teachers Associations. These groups claim that younger adults (18-20) are likely to react to certain situations like a teenager. These situations include potential threats, stressful situations, or other emotional situations.

Critics of the Bill

With support also comes opposition. The groups that represent the state’s attorneys, probation officers, and detention officers think trying certain cases in juvenile court is not wise. Their argument is that at the age of 18, a person is able to do many “adult” things, such as vote, serve in the military, etc. Other concerns lie with the costs that might be associated with this change in law. More people who are charged, and subsequently convicted, of misdemeanors equates to more people in beds at juvenile centers, which could have incalculable costs. Finally, there is concern that this bill could be a slippery slope for treating adults as children.

The bill passed through a committee and is currently sitting in the Illinois House of Representatives for consideration.

While this bill is not yet law, and could potentially never become law, it brings about an interesting discussion regarding juvenile crime. Individuals need to be held accountable for their crimes, but juveniles and young adults present a fierce debate.

Juvenile crimes have punishments that involve both incarceration and non-incarceration. Incarceration can range from house arrest to adult jail or prison time for more serious offenses. Non-incarceration options include anything from a verbal warning to probation.

We Can Help You Today

If you have been charged with a juvenile crime, you need an attorney who is looking out for your best interests. Skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley is here to help. Attorney Cosley understands that kids make mistakes and is committed to getting the juvenile the best possible outcome.

Sources:

http://www.wsiltv.com/story/37683392/young-adults-could-be-tried-in-juvenile-court

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocTypeID=HB&DocNum=4581&GAID=14&SessionID=91&LegID=109512

Illinois Cracks Down on Underage Drinking

June 11th, 2018 at 7:05 am

DUI charge, fake state IDs, juvenile crimes, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, underage drinkingThe legal drinking age in Illinois is 21. That being said, this does not stop individuals under the age of 21 from consuming alcoholic drinks at an alarming rate. Underage drinking is dangerous and can have serious consequences. And, to be sure, there are various crimes a juvenile can be charged with in relation to alcohol — underage drinking, drinking and driving, and the use of a fake ID are just a few of the crimes. Each of these crimes can result in punishment that can greatly affect a young person’s life in the years to come.

Crimes Related to Underage Drinking in Illinois

If you or a loved one has been charged with any of the following crimes in Illinois, it is imperative that you reach out to our legal team immediately:

  • Underage Drinking: It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol. Illinois law states that the “possession, consumption, purchase, or receipt of alcohol by an individual under the age of 21” results in suspension of driving privileges. The first conviction results in a three-month suspension of driving privileges and court supervision for six months. A second conviction can result in suspension for one year and any other subsequent convictions can result in revocation of a driver’s license.
  • Drinking and Driving: Illinois has a zero tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. For individuals over the age of 21, driving under the influence occurs with a blood alcohol content of .08 or more. For those under the age of 21, any blood alcohol content above a 0.0 can result in a DUI charge. A driver under the age of 21 with any amount of alcohol in their system will lose their driving privileges for three months for the first offense.
  • Fake ID: Underage individuals may choose to use fake state IDs or the IDs of others who are over the age of 21. In Illinois, it is a Class A Misdemeanor to display or represent as “one’s own any driver’s license or ID card issued to another person.” Additionally, an individual can be charged for using an ID that is fictitious. Further, the use of a fake ID can also amount to a Class 4 Felony. Possessing a fraudulent Illinois ID card or driver’s license is just one other way to elevate the crime to a felony.   

Not only can an underage person face charges relating to underage alcohol consumption or fake identification, but those who supply alcohol to a minor, or provide a fake ID, can also be charged with a misdemeanor or felony.

Let Our Attorneys Help You Today

Attorney Christopher M. Cosley is available to help you with any underage drinking issues that may arise. He understands that kids make mistakes and those mistakes should not affect them for the rest of their adult life. Dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley works hard to give the best possible defense under the circumstances. Do not let one bad choice as a juvenile follow you for the rest of your life. Contact us for a consultation today.

Sources:

https://www.illinois.gov/ilcc/education/pages/under21laws.aspx

http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/losepriv.html

What is the Process for Expunging a Juvenile Record in Illinois?

April 11th, 2018 at 6:49 am

expungement, juvenile crimes, juvenile detention centers, juvenile records, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneyChildhood should be a time of growth and learning. Unfortunately for some children, their childhood is spent in and out of courthouses and juvenile detention centers. The premise behind rehabilitating those who commit crimes is to give them a second chance in life. With this thought in mind, who deserves a second shot more than a child?

A juvenile is someone who is under the age of 18. Each time a person is arrested, a record is created and consists of a police report, computer database reports, or any other court document that is created in connection with the arrest or charge. All law enforcement and court records with cases involving juveniles are sealed.

A sealed record means that most people are not able to view the records, as they may be able to with adult records. Even though the records are sealed, there are various instances where potential employers could see the records. However, one way to avoid sealed records being seen is through a process called expungement.

What is Expungement?

An expungement is a court-ordered process through which a record is essentially erased in the eyes of the law. After a record is expunged, a person will usually not have to disclose an arrest or convictions on a job application, or other situations in which criminal records are disclosed or a background check is run.

Certain juvenile records are automatically expunged. First, arrests that did not result in conviction are automatically expunged after one year. However, there cannot be any other arrests or charges within the six months before the expungement occurs. Additionally, arrests and court records are expunged when they result in a dismissal, finding of no delinquency, supervision that is terminated successfully, guilty verdicts of Class B or C misdemeanors, petty business offenses, and guilty verdicts for Class A misdemeanors or non-violent felonies.

In the case of the Class A misdemeanors or non-violent felonies, the expungement will happen two years after the case is closed. Additionally, there must be no other pending cases or guilty findings.

Automatic expungements do not occur for every juvenile crime. In the event that there is no automatic expungement, there are paths to trying to get expungement. You must file a petition with the court and attend a hearing in front of an appointed judge. Law enforcement or the state’s attorney has 45 days to object to the expungement. The hearing takes place after the 45-day period.

Contact Us Today for Legal Assistance Today

If you have a child with a juvenile record, or you have a prior juvenile record that needs expunged, The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can help. Talented Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher Cosley has a proven track record representing juvenile clients. Let us help you throughout each step of your case.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=070504050K5-915

Types of Juvenile Crimes

February 26th, 2018 at 7:00 am

juvenile courts, juvenile crimes, juvenile law, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, violent offensesAdults are not the only ones who break the law. Teens commit many crimes as well. Those under the age of 17, however, typically cannot be held responsible for the crimes they commit. The area of juvenile law applies to teens and is focused more on rehabilitation rather than punishment—prison time and hefty fines are not always appropriate forms of punishment for juveniles.

There are many sentencing options for juvenile courts. They are typically grouped into two types: incarceration and non-incarceration. Incarceration does not have to involve jail, although it sometimes does—particularly if the minor committed a felony. Other forms of incarceration include house arrest, placement in a foster home, and juvenile hall.

For minor crimes, a teen may be able to avoid incarceration. Non-incarceration punishment options include verbal warnings, fines, community service, counseling, and probation.

Most Common Offenses Among Teens

Teens have the ability to commit the same types of crimes as adults. They are even capable of committing murder and other serious or violent offenses. However, the most common criminal offenses are the following:

  • Theft – This includes shoplifting, stealing bikes, and stealing from backpacks.
  • Burglary – This includes entering a home or building with an intent to steal something.
  • Vandalism – This includes graffiti, drawing on walls, keying cars, and cutting tires.
  • Drug and alcohol offenses – This includes the purchase and possession of alcohol or marijuana.
  • Tobacco use  This includes purchasing tobacco and smoking or chewing it at school or other public place.
  • Weapons possession This includes possession of a gun (even a BB gun), knives, brass knuckles, nunchucks, and pepper spray.
  • Disorderly conduct This includes nudity in public (such as flashing or mooning), cursing at an adult and starting fights in public.
  • Assault and battery This includes verbal bullying or physical altercation such as pushing or hitting another person.
  • Traffic violations These offenses include speeding, running red lights, and not wearing a seat belt.
  • Trespassing  This includes entering a vacant building and using another person’s land without permission.
  • Fraud This includes sending spam emails in an attempt to obtain personal information, writing bad checks, and impersonating another person for personal gain.
  • False reporting This includes pulling a fire alarm when no fire is present, calling 911 for no reason, and making bomb threats.
  • Unauthorized use of a motor vehicle This includes driving without a license or using someone else’s car without their permission.

Need Legal Advice? Contact a Local Criminal Defense Lawyer

Teens who commit crimes deserve second chances. They have their entire lives in front of them, and forcing them to spend most of their adulthood in jail is unfair. As a parent, you need to ensure your child’s legal rights are protected.  

If your child is facing criminal charges, The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can defend his or her case. Skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher Cosley will do what it takes to avoid a conviction or find alternative punishment. Reach out to our office for help today.

Source:

http://www.globalyouthjustice.org/TOP_25_CRIMES.html

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

The Ramifications of Illinois Minor in Possession Charges

July 12th, 2017 at 7:00 am

Class A misdemeanor, juvenile crimes, minor in possession, Rolling Meadows juvenile crimes attorney, underage drinkingFor good or ill, underage drinking is a rite of passage for many young people, though it often leads to legal trouble for those involved.  While such issues are commonly seen as youthful peccadilloes, in reality an underage drinking issue can affect a young adult’s future in a significant manner.

If a parent or authority figure becomes aware of minor in possession charges entered against a son, daughter or ward, it is incumbent upon both them and the young adult to become aware of the potential consequences if convicted of such a charge.

Restrictions & Exceptions

Illinois has very strict regulations regarding minors caught with alcohol. Generally, if one is under the age of 21, it is illegal to either possess or consume alcohol. If they are observed doing so in public or in ‘a place open to the public,’ they may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

A Class A misdemeanor is the most serious class of non-felony offense, and under Illinois law it is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year in jail (not prison—the distinction is fine but important to observe).  

The law does state that a minor may legally consume alcohol at home—thus, not in a public place —without repercussions if they have the approval and direct supervision of a parent (or anyone standing in those proverbial shoes).  Other exceptions do also exist under the relevant statute; however, they are few in number and quite rare to encounter or experience.

One, for example, is that minors may possess or consume alcohol as part of religious ceremonies. While this is a clear-cut exception, it is one that applies to a significant minority of young people caught indulging in alcohol. Most of the time, the absolutist logic of the statute itself will apply—if a minor is caught consuming or possessing alcohol in public, then he or she will almost always be charged with that Class A misdemeanor.

Alternatives to Jail Time

While the majority of defendants in minor possession cases will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, it does not mean that the majority will be convicted of such an offense. Judges also have considerable leeway to impose alternative sentences or add extra requirements that a convicted minor must fulfill. It is, however, required that the defendant be informed of the possible maximum sentence so as to ensure that any guilty plea is voluntary—if the defendant was not specifically informed and still pled guilty, receiving a sentence of jail time, it would open up the possibility of appeal based on lack of understanding of the potential consequences.

In terms of alternative sentences or additional penalties imposed, the most common choices are community service (as opposed to jail time) and court supervision or probation. Supervision in particular tends to be favored for first-time offenders, as successful completion of the supervision period without any further legal trouble leads to a dismissal of the charges and no permanent indication on the defendant’s criminal record.

Consult a Knowledgeable Juvenile Crimes Attorney

Very often, episodes of underage drinking are met with nostalgia or minimizing by friends and family. However, the law does not share such an indulgent view. The passionate Rolling Meadows juvenile crimes attorney at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley will fight for you and do our best to achieve a fair outcome. Contact our offices today to set up an initial appointment.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073000050K5-6-3.1

My Teen Has Been Arrested. Now What?

June 19th, 2017 at 2:37 pm

juvenile crimes, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, teen has been arrested, juvenile criminal case, criminal convictionRaising children can be one of the most rewarding yet challenging parts of adult life. Our children go out into the world as extensions of ourselves, and as parents we constantly worry about their safety and how we can keep them out of trouble. We even attempt to plan ahead for any potential issues that may arise—we teach our children the difference between right and wrong and instill moral values. Still, bad decisions are made.

Decisions can Become Criminal in a Split Second

It only takes a moment for an otherwise thoughtful and law abiding teen to make a decision that can change the rest of his or her life. According to federal records in 2010, 1.6 million juveniles were arrested. Recent governmental research suggests that nearly 30.2 percent of American citizens will be arrested by the time they are 23 years of age.

The most common types of juvenile criminal cases involve the following:

These crimes do not make our teens bad people. However, they may land our loved ones in trouble with the law—loved ones who may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Children may succumb to peer pressure without understanding the dire consequences that they are risking with their future. One bad decision does not have to, nor should it, relegate our youth to an entire life of crime.

Police Interaction With Our Children

For many parents who are trying to protect the interests of their children once they have been arrested, the most shocking development is that there are little national procedural standards for how police officers interact with minors once they have been arrested.

Police officers are required to notify a minor’s parents in a reasonable time after he or she has been arrested. Moreover, police are required to inform a minor’s parents of the nature of the charge as well as the next proposed steps that law enforcement will take in the case.

In the majority of instances, police will allow a parent to be present during an official interrogation. However, federally, there is no guarantee that protects a parent’s right to be present during a federal investigation inquiry.

Despite not having a constitutionally protected right to be present at your minor child’s interrogation, your minor does have a right to have a lawyer present during questioning. Additionally, at any time during the investigation, if your child asks for a lawyer, then the interview must end.

The most important step you can take to help your minor child who has been arrested to enlist the help of a talented Illinois criminal defense lawyer.

Erect Your Defense Immediately

Criminal investigations are fraught with peril. The government has extensive resources and the advantage of knowing their intentions. A criminal conviction for a juvenile can have disastrous effects on his or her future. It may affect the juvenile’s ability to gain employment, take advantage of certain governmental programs, or be able to secure a professional license. Contact our skilled and relentless Rolling Meadows juvenile criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Call 847-394-3200.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ChapterID=50&ActID=1863

Changes to the Law Concerning How Juveniles Can Seek Expungements

February 13th, 2017 at 9:39 am

expungements, Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense LawyerOne of the most detrimental aspects of a juvenile getting in trouble with the law for committing a criminal offense is that the incident will create a law enforcement and juvenile court record for the minor. Parents and affected juveniles can try to obtain an expungement, which means that they obtain a court order that hides the criminal record from the view of the public. However, a few select entities, such as the government, may still have access to expunged records.

Expunging the record means that the criminal record would not appear in a background check conducted by most individuals, and the affected individual would not have to disclose his or her expunged criminal history.

New Changes to the Law Concerning How Juveniles Can Seek Expungements

The trouble with obtaining a criminal record expungement in the past for a juvenile in Illinois was that there were many restrictions on how and when a juvenile could seek an expungement. However, in 2017 there will be several changes made to Illinois’ criminal justice laws. One change that has particular relevance to minors is how juveniles can seek expungement of their criminal records.

The new law provides that a person who is under the age of 18 years old can petition the court at any time to have his or her criminal record and juvenile court record expunged, or once the juvenile court proceedings against them related to the offense have concluded. The old law limited seeking expungement to juveniles who were 17 years old or older. Eligibility for the ability to petition the juvenile court for expungement is available to:

  1. Juveniles who were arrested, but no petition for delinquency was filed with the clerk of court against them, i.e., if the charges were dropped against the juvenile;
  2. Juveniles who were charged with an offense and a petition for delinquency was filed with the clerk of court, but the petition(s) were dismissed by the court without a finding that the juvenile was delinquent; i.e., the judge dismissed the case against the juvenile;
  3. Juveniles who were arrested and charged, but were not found to be delinquent by the juvenile court, i.e., the juvenile was found not guilty; 
  4. Juveniles who are placed under supervision of the court, and the juvenile’s period of supervision has been successfully completed; and
  5. Juveniles who are adjudicated for a low-level offense, such as a Class B misdemeanor, Class C misdemeanor, or petty or business offense.

It is important to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer fighting the juvenile charges against you so that you will be able to have the charges dropped or dismissed. Once your defense is won, you can seek an expungement of your juvenile criminal record.

Juveniles With Criminal Records Need Help With Expungement

A criminal record may prevent you from getting a job or getting into school. If you want to do something about getting your record expunged, you should contact an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer for immediate assistance.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocTypeID=HB&DocNum=5017&GAID=13&SessionID=88&LegID=94377

New Illinois Bill Could Give Juveniles Quicker Detention Hearings

May 25th, 2016 at 8:44 am

Illinois detention hearings, Rolling Meadows Juvenile Matters LawyerJuveniles are just children or teenagers; they make poor choices from time to time, and they make mistakes. When young people are involved in minor crime, and arrested for it, their detention by police can place a terrible burden on the juvenile and his or her family. For the juvenile’s family, there is a sense of uncertainty and worry until a judge reviews the juvenile’s case. For the juvenile, detention can mean being locked up for a long period of time away from people he or she knows and loves.

Children and teens need love and support when they are in trouble, and isolating them away to wait for the review of their case can be stressful. Moreover, detaining teens for extended periods of time can be detrimental to their well-being. It can cause them to panic, worry, and fret incessantly. Detention can trigger severe emotional and psychological reactions, especially if the juvenile is generally a good kid who made a silly mistake, or foolishly listened to the bad advice or goading of his or her friends, which landed him or her in juvenile detention. It is unfair and unjust to unnecessarily force juveniles to be detained any longer than is absolutely necessary. Juveniles should be rejoined with their families and loved ones as quickly as possible.

Current Illinois Law Concerning Juvenile Detention Hearings

Under current Illinois law, 705 ILCS 405/5-415, juveniles may be detained for up to 40 hours before they are granted a detention hearing. That 40-hour time frame does not include weekends or court-recognized holidays. So, in effect, a juvenile could be detained for up to five days, given that an arrest was made on a Friday, and the juvenile is detained over a holiday weekend. In such a case, the earliest a juvenile could be granted a detention hearing is on the next Tuesday morning. Over 1,000 juveniles are detained for suspected criminal activity each year in Illinois, and approximately 25 percent of these juvenile detentions occur over a weekend.

Fortunately, the Illinois Senate is considering a bill that would expedite detention hearings for juveniles who commit minor, nonviolent crimes. Under the proposed bill, HB5619, juveniles charged with minor offenses would receive a detention hearing within 24 hours of being charged. This time period for review of the juvenile’s case would include holidays and weekends so that juveniles would not possibly be detained over a weekend or holiday. The House of Representatives has already approved the bill.

When Juveniles Need Legal Representation

Individuals who face criminal charges, no matter how severe and no matter what their age is, should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The consequences of a conviction, even as a juvenile, can have serious long-term consequences. If you have a juvenile who is in need of legal representation, please do not hesitate to contact a compassionate Rolling Meadows juvenile defense lawyer at our office. We are happy to help you today.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=070504050K5-415

http://ilga.gov/legislation/99/HB/PDF/09900HB5619lv.pdf

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

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