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Justice for Juveniles

Wheaton criminal defense attorney, justice for juvenilesThere are several different charges related to juvenile theft. Often glamorized by the music industry and mainstream media, many impressionable young adults are led to believe that it is nearly a rite of passage to steal and get away with it. Some consider stealing as a rush; others do it because “everyone else is doing it." Additionally, there may be cases in which a juvenile steals food because he or she could not afford to eat. However, the most common forms of juvenile theft, all prosecutable by law, include the following:

  • Shoplifting: Removing the merchandise from a display or shelf and then exiting the premises with the item without any intention of paying. Merchandise is product that an establishment would sell to the public.

  • Price Tag Switching: Various items cost differing amounts. In this scenario, a culprit may remove a tag off of a higher priced item and replace it with the tag of a lower priced item, a sale item, or a clearance item in order to pay a lower amount. While yes, the individual is still paying for the item, the establishment is still losing revenue on both items. The product that was intended to be a lower cost is now marked overpriced and is not likely to attract a buyer. Moreover, the item that was purchased at the incorrect lower cost only generated a fraction of the amount it was intended to gain.

  • Larceny: This is a very intimidating word to many because it is often heard in high profile cases. Simply put, larceny is theft of personal property. In a larceny case, the person charged is being accused of taking something from an individual without permission or without the intent to return the property.

The Penalties

Over 100 years ago, Illinois became the first state to have a set court system specifically for juveniles. Individuals under the age of 18 typically are entered into a juvenile justice system, rather than a court system. Each system has its own judges, courts, prosecutors and rules. Dependent on the circumstances, the juvenile justice system seeks to correct behavior and teach the difference between right and wrong. Therefore, the penalties for being convicted of juvenile theft vary widely. Penalties include:

  • Release to Parents: A judge will give an offending juvenile a very serious lecture about the consequences should his or her behavior continue; yet, the judge essentially lets the child go with a warning.

  • Restitution: The juvenile must pay back the cost of the goods taken. If the child has no money, he or she is not to borrow from his or her parents or friends. In this situation, if the minor has a job, the judge will typically order that the juvenile continues working until the restitution is paid in full. If the juvenile is old enough to be employed, but is not currently employed, the judge will order that he or she finds a job and pay the restitution.

  • Probation: A probation officer will be assigned and the child is to be on his or her best behavior for six months, or potentially longer, if the circumstances warrant it. Regular check-ins between the probation officer and the child will occur, and the minor must additionally obey his or her parents within reason, must attend school, and must comply with work schedules (if applicable). If the minor does not obey, or fails to meet with his or her probation officer, a stricter punishment can be given.

  • Counseling: A judge may order the child to attend individual or family counseling if it is deemed necessary. This may be a state service, or the judge may order that the guardians secure their own counsellor.

  • Diversion: Nearly the same as probation, diversion is significantly less formal. This is not generally offered as a punishment if the child has multiple offenses. However, if it is the child's first offense, diversion is an option. The minor will still need to obtain good grades, listen to parents, or perform community service. Yet, it is up to the judge to decide what guidelines must be followed.

  • Confinement: A method that is used for more serious crimes, confinement may result due to a juvenile's multiple arrests or because he or she committed theft of high valued items. The court may determine that the best learning tool would be to stay in a juvenile detention center, attend a weekend detention program, or participate in a boot-camp style program.

  • Placement: If the court finds that it is the home environment that is contributing to the juvenile's delinquency, or that the home environment is unsafe or not conducive for a child to flourish, the court may temporarily or permanently remove the child from his or her home and place him or her in a foster home or other state resource facility.

Speak with an Experienced Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyer 

If you are a minor and have charges against you, or if you are a parent or legal guardian of a child who has gotten into trouble, this is a case where it is best to consult a legal professional. At this point in time, your child’s entire life may depend on his or her verdict. No matter how serious the charges seem, you will benefit from an aggressive and responsible attorney being on your side to fiercely protect your child’s future. If you reside in the DuPage County, IL area and are looking for an experienced and reliable Wheaton, IL criminal defense attorney, please contact Davi Law Group, LLC at 630-580-6373 to schedule your appointment today. 

Sources:

http://illinoisissues.uis.edu/archives/2013/05/juvenilejustice.html

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=39200000&SeqEnd=39700000

Abraham Lincoln A lawyer’s time and advice are his stock and trade. -Abraham Lincoln
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