When Can a Juvenile Offender Be Tried as an Adult in Illinois?
If you are a minor who has been arrested and charged with a crime or you are the parent of a juvenile offender, you may be unsure of what to expect. You may have heard that children can sometimes be treated the same as adults in an Illinois criminal case but do not know the circumstances under which this can occur. Anyone under the age of 18 is a minor in Illinois; however, there are situations in which a minor may be tried and sentenced as if he or she was an adult. The alleged offense, the offender’s age and background, and other factors can influence where a juvenile case is heard.
Factors Considered by Illinois Judges in Juvenile Criminal Cases
Illinois judges have discretion when it comes to juvenile criminal cases. When determining whether to send a minor to juvenile court or adult court, the judge will consider:
The alleged offender’s age – The older the juvenile offender is, the more likely he or she is to be tried as an adult.
The severity of the alleged offense – Minors who are accused of misdemeanor offenses are typically tried in juvenile court. If an offender is 16 or 17 years old and charged with a more serious offense, the prosecutor may request the offender to be transferred to adult court. The judge will evaluate the circumstances of the alleged crime and other factors to determine if transferring the juvenile offender to adult court is appropriate. If an offender is 16 or 17 years old and has been charged with homicide, sexual assault, or aggravated battery, the case is automatically transferred to adult court. Juvenile offenders under 16 years old who are accused of these crimes may be transferred to adult court upon the prosecution’s request.
The alleged offender’s criminal history – If a juvenile has a history of previous convictions or delinquent behavior, this can make a judge more likely to transfer the case to adult court.
The alleged offender’s mental capacity – The judge will consider the offender’s mental health and ability to understand the consequences of his or her actions.
The nature of the alleged offense – The offender may be more likely to face adult court if the offense was premeditated or especially heinous.
Contact a Wheaton, IL Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you or your loved one have been accused of a juvenile criminal offense, you should know that the case could be heard in adult court. For help defending against criminal charges, contact the Davi Law Group, LLC. Our dedicated DuPage County criminal law attorneys are fierce legal advocates for minors who have been accused of crimes. Call our office today at 630-580-6373 to schedule a free consultation.