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Tag Archives: Wheaton juvenile criminal defense attorney

DuPage County juvenile defense attorneyThe first juvenile court in the United States was created more than 100 years ago with the idea that minors had the ability to reform their behavior as they matured. However, even with a complete juvenile justice system in place, minors are still being tried and sentenced as adults at an alarming rate. It has been proven that juveniles do not have the same capacity to make good decisions or control their impulses as adults. They are also more susceptible to peer pressure. All of these areas in which minors lack maturity have been proven to contribute to the likelihood of a juvenile committing a crime. In the state of Illinois, any person who is under the age of 18 is considered a minor, though many juveniles can and are still transferred to the adult court system. When a transfer is requested, there are a number of factors that the judge will consider, including:

The Age of the Minor

One of the first factors a judge will look at when deciding if a juvenile should be tried as an adult is the age of the minor. In Illinois, any minor who is under the age of 16 is referred to juvenile court first. Age is a big factor in determining whether or not a juvenile is transferred to adult court, because it can also be a good indicator of whether or not the child will benefit from juvenile court.

The Minor’s History

Next, the judge will consider the minor’s history and background. There are a number of things that could influence a juvenile’s decision to commit a crime. The judge will examine the child’s previous criminal history, any past delinquent behavior, the child’s history with abuse or neglect, and the child’s physical and mental health history.

The Nature of the Offense

The judge will also look at the specific situation in which the alleged crime occurred. Specifically, they will look for evidence that suggests that the crime was done in a premeditated or aggressive manner, whether the minor possessed a deadly weapon during the offense, and whether or not anyone was harmed because of the crime.

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DuPage County probation violation defense attorneyFor many crimes, probation is a sentencing option that is given primarily to first-time offenders or offenders who do not have a history of violent crimes and whose crime did not involve violence. In Illinois, probation is used as an alternative to prison time, which promotes the offender’s rehabilitation and also attempts to reduce the rate of recidivism. The terms of probation vary, because many of the terms are decided on a case-by-case basis in order to provide a more individualized and tailored sentence. If you violate the terms of your probation, you could face unwanted consequences, and in some cases, you may even end up going to jail.

Probation Violation Notice

Everyone who has been sentenced to probation will be assigned a probation officer who helps guide them through the rehabilitation process. Once your probation officer learns that you may have violated your probation, he or she will then submit a petition for violation of probation to the clerk of the circuit court. The clerk will then send you a notice of this petition in the mail, along with a request that you attend the hearing for your violation. If you choose not to attend this hearing, there will be a warrant issued for your arrest.

Probation Violation Hearings

When it comes to probation violations, you are given the benefit of the doubt, since the burden of proof lies with the state. In other words, you do not have to prove that you did not commit the violation -- the state must provide a preponderance of evidence that supports the claim that you violated the terms of your probation. Once this evidence (or lack thereof) has been established, it is up to the judge to determine the outcome.

Possible Consequences for Probation Violations

Not all probation violation hearings will result in disciplinary action. If the judge determines that there is not sufficient evidence, you will not be found guilty of a violation. If you are found guilty, the judge then has to determine what your punishment will be. The judge can choose to:

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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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Wheaton juvenile criminal defense attorney, your child is arrestedCriminal charges and arrests can unnerving for both the individuals involved and their families. However, when a child faces criminal trouble, the situation is often even more frightening. When a child is dealing with criminal charges, even if he or she is in juvenile court, those charges are just as serious as adult criminal charges.

Your Child’s Rights

When arrested, any person under the age of 18 has the same Constitutional rights as an adult. This includes the right to remain silent and the right to a lawyer. Often, people make the mistake of believing that a case involving a minor is not as serious, or it will go better if the child speaks with law enforcement. However, it critical that any individual who is being accused or charged with criminal conduct protect his or her rights and contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

A juvenile criminal case can still end with the child being locked up. It can also end up getting DCFS involved with your family. 

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