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DuPage County criminal defense attorney juvenile theft

Being arrested and charged with a crime can be a frightening experience for anyone, but it can be especially worrisome for minors. Children who are still maturing may make mistakes without realizing the consequences of their actions. Unfortunately, juvenile offenses can impact a child’s future, affecting his or her ability to find a job or pursue education. Juvenile theft is one of the most common charges that minors may face, and parents will want to understand the procedures that will be followed in juvenile courts and the potential consequences their child may face.

Juvenile Court Cases Involving Theft

Minors may be charged with multiple different types of theft. Charges related to shoplifting or retail theft are among the most common, but children may also be arrested on suspicion of offenses such as motor vehicle theft or theft of property. The severity of the charges will depend on the value of the property stolen. For example, retail theft of items valued at $300 or less is a Class A misdemeanor, but retail theft of property worth more than $300 is a Class 3 felony.

When minors are arrested on suspicion of theft, they will be taken into police custody. In some cases, officers will choose to release a child without charging him or her with a crime, or they may give a child a “station adjustment” in which he or she is released to the parent or guardian without being formally charged with a crime as long as he or she meets certain conditions, such as performing community service.

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Wheaton IL juvenile charges lawyerPrior to 1899, there was no such thing as a juvenile justice system. Illinois was the first state to create a separate court that was solely for juvenile offenders. The juvenile justice system was created with the idea that the majority of children’s behavior can be changed and modified so that they can become law-abiding citizens. Though the juvenile justice system does differ from the adult justice system, juveniles retain many of the same rights as their adult counterparts.

Rights of Juveniles

The state of Illinois recognizes those who are age 17 and younger are juveniles who will be tried in juvenile court -- for most things. Children over the age of 15 can be tried as an adult for very serious crimes. No matter where a child is prosecuted, they have rights. These rights include:

  • Right to Remain Silent: Like adults, your child has the right to not self-incriminate him or herself. Your child is not required to answer any police questioning if you and/or your child’s lawyer are not present.
  • Right to an Attorney: Also like adults, your child has the right to an attorney. If your family cannot afford an attorney, a public defender will be assigned to your child’s case. The public defender assigned to your child’s case will be versed in juvenile law and will have knowledge of how the juvenile justice system works.
  • Right to Talk to a Parent or Guardian: Your child also has the right to talk to you and have you present during questioning. Before your child talks to police, police should be told by the child of the child’s wish to have a parent present, and police should be told by the child how to get a hold of you.
  • Right to Know the Charges: Your child has the right to know with what they are being charged. Police must explain the charges to your child and what crime they believe your child has committed.

Rights of Parents

In addition to children, parents who have a child who has been accused of a crime also have rights. These rights include:

  • Right to Be Notified: If your child has been arrested, you have the right to be informed as quickly as possible of your child’s arrest. Police are required to notify you as soon as your child is arrested or before your child is being questioned.
  • Right to Know Why Your Child is In Police Custody: You have the right to know why your child has been arrested and where they are being held in police custody. Police must also tell you what specific charges are being held against your child.
  • Right to Be With Your Child: As your child’s parent, you have the right to be with your child at all times during questioning. This allows you to ensure that your child’s rights are being protected and that you know what is going on with your child’s case.

Has Your Child Been Arrested? A DuPage County Juvenile Defense Lawyer Can Help

No parent wants to receive the call that their child has run into trouble with the law. At the Davi Law Group, LLC, we understand that juvenile charges can be scary for both the child and the parents. Our skilled Wheaton, IL juvenile defense attorneys will make sure we do everything in our power to protect your child’s rights and innocence. If your child is facing criminal charges, call us today at 630-580-6373 to schedule a free consultation.

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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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DuPage County juvenile defense attorneyWhile state laws tend to dictate how juvenile and adult criminal cases are handled, there are some broad but universal views and beliefs within these two justice system types. It is by comparing the beliefs of each system that one begins to understand the distinct differences – including the impact that an adult case may have on a juvenile. Learn more about the differences between juvenile criminal cases and adult criminal cases, and discover how you can protect your teen from the potential consequences of an adult trial.

Rehabilitation

If there is any belief that distinguishes adult criminal cases from juvenile ones, it is that juveniles are developmentally different than adults. The perception that juveniles can be more easily rehabilitated than adults stems directly from this belief, and it can impact everything from sentencing to treatment options and release back into the community. For example, an alleged juvenile sex offender may be referred to a therapeutic program, but an alleged adult offender could be facing years of imprisonment and forced registration on the state’s sex offender site.

Public Access to Criminal Records

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DuPage County criminal defense lawyer, juvenile defendantsGenerally, children under the age of 18 are not considered adults. However, under Illinois law, some juvenile defendants can be tried as an adult and given adult penalties if convicted. Illinois has recently made some changes in the way cases involving defendants 17 and younger will be transferred to adult court.

Changes in the Law Effective January 1, 2016 

After January 1, 2016, any child aged sixteen and older, who commits certain serious felonies, will automatically be tried in adult court. If the child is under age 16, then prosecutors will still be able to ask a judge to transfer the case to adult court. However, the transfer will not be automatic and the child’s attorney will be able to argue against the transfer to adult court.  

The crimes for which juveniles will automatically be tried as adults when 16 or 17 years old include:

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