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Tag Archives: Illinois juvenile crime

Il defense lawyerAnyone under the age of 18 is a juvenile. When adolescents choose to break the law by participating in juvenile theft or other harmful behavior, we call this juvenile delinquency. In most cases, children who find themselves in trouble do not qualify for adult punishments, yet the consequences can have lasting effects. Currently, the United States faces an epidemic of juvenile delinquency. Crimes committed by one or more teens account for 20% of all criminal activity. This upward trend has experts searching for causes and the best methods of prevention.

The Expert Opinion

There is a constant debate as to what influences our behavior most, is it the genes we inherit from our family or our surroundings. Most experts agree that both play a pivotal role in our behavior choices. Children, teens, and young adults, however, are often more influenced by their surroundings. Adolescents make decisions directly relating to what is going on with their family members, friends, and their peers. These influencers are intensified by the accompaniment of a desire for material things, fashion trends, peer pressure, and financial lust, to name a few. Although any child can make a mistake that can result in legal consequences, the risk is higher when intensified by a background of:

  • Poverty;
  • Repeated exposure to violence;
  • Drugs;
  • Firearms;
  • Unstable family;
  • Family violence;
  • Delinquent peer groups; and
  • Media violence.

Suggested Preventative Measures

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juvenile criminal records, criminal record, criminal record expungement, juvenile criminal case, Illinois juvenile crimeJuveniles who find themselves on the wrong side of the law will have an easier time getting arrest records expunged under a new state law aimed at giving youth a second chance.

The law allows for juvenile criminal records to automatically be expunged for various circumstances without a petition brought by the individual. It also repeals provisions pertaining to court proceedings. At the same time, the law removes the requirement that an individual be 21 years old to be eligible for expungement by petition.  

Under the law, records will be expunged after one year for arrests which occurred before an individual’s 18th birthday, if the offense was considered a Class 3 felony or would have been a lower offense if committed by an adult. If there was an adjudication of delinquency, records will be automatically expunged two years after the case was closed. 

The law also calls for records to be expunged 60 days after the dismissal of a petition of delinquency or a finding of not delinquent, along with the successful termination of an order of supervision. Records will also be expunged in the same duration if the offense was a Class B or C misdemeanor or deemed a lower offense if committed by an adult. 

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Illinois juvenile defense lawyersNo matter how heinous their crimes might seem, juvenile offenders are, by all standards, children. They do not always understand the consequences of their actions, may struggle with impulse control, and have brains that are not yet fully developed. Yet, in Illinois, and in other states throughout the country, they are serving life sentences for crimes they allegedly committed.

A recent ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court, in which it was deemed unconstitutional to incarcerate a minor for life without parole, gives these offenders the chance to appeal their former sentences. Unfortunately, there may be more who receive the exact same type of sentence in the very near future. If your child is being charged with a serious or violent crime, the following can help you better understand what they may be up against and how you can attempt to protect them from a life behind bars.

Children Serving Life Sentences

News sources indicate that some 80 children have been sentenced to life sentences without parole in the state of Illinois. After the 2012 Supreme Court ruling that deemed it unconstitutional to incarcerate a child for life, Illinois examined their own laws in 2014. Because of these two rulings, all 80 of the inmates were given the right to pursue resentencing for their crimes.

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DuPage County juvenile defense attorney, juvenile delinquencyParents often question their decisions and actions when raising their children. Are the parents nurturing enough? Are they strict when necessary? When your child is arrested and charged with minor delinquency such as juvenile theft, you may begin to question how you, as a parent, failed your child.

While there are methods to prevention and detection of delinquent behavior, the truth is that there may not be anything that could have prevented the incident; sometimes kids just behave foolishly and make mistakes. However, these small lapses in judgment do not need to derail their lives.

Early Detection

The road to true delinquency does not occur overnight; it is a path similar to adolescence. Most teens and young adults do not wake up in the morning believing that they are going to hang out with the wrong crowd that day or partake in destructive behavior. These paths are eased into slowly. Recent research shows that there are two beginning points for delinquency, including:

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DuPage County juvenile defense attorney, Illinois juvenile crime lawsNo matter how old children get, parents will seek to protect them and provide them with the best life possible. Therefore, if it is within a parent's power, he or she will want to provide his or her child with the best possible defense when facing a legal battle.

Understanding the laws surrounding one's criminal allegations is imperative to any successful defense strategy, and as of January 1, 2017, a new round of legislation will take effect regarding juvenile defenses.

Expungement Changes 

At any age, even small charges remain on a criminal record no matter the outcome of the case. Criminal accusations can dramatically alter the life of a teen, potentially preventing future employment opportunities and lessening the probability of a degree in higher education. However, with the new year, new possibilities are available to erase the dark marks through expungement. Certain criteria must be met to qualify, including:

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