Dupage County Lawyers
 

Crimes Against Minors

Children are vulnerable, and crimes against them can result in a lifetime of problems, so Illinois has multiple laws designed to protect minors. Many of them involve sexual abuse and exploitation, protecting minors from being solicited for sex or being indecently photographed or filmed.

Crimes against minors are taken seriously and are vigorously prosecuted.  In addition, Illinois has recently eliminated the statutes of limitations for felony criminal sexual assault and sexual abuse crimes against children. The new legislation applies to future felony child sex crime cases as well as current criminal cases in which the previous statute of limitations has not expired.

Due to the seriousness of the charges and the complexity of the laws, if you have been charged with a crime against a minor in Illinois, it is essential to get top-notch legal assistance.  The experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. are skilled trial lawyers who believe each case is unique, with its own set of circumstances and requirements.  No matter what the charges, our criminal defense lawyers will work with you to mount the most effective defense possible.  We offer a free consultation, so contact us for help today at 630-305-0222 if you have been accused of any crimes against minors.

What are Crimes Against Minors?

1) Sex Crimes

Many of the laws involving minors deal with sex-related crimes. Sexual assault, or rape, occurs when an individual commits a penetrative sexual act against another without their consent; it includes not only victims who are underaged, but those who are mentally disabled, or otherwise incapable of giving consent. Statutory rape occurs when an adult has sex with a minor, and it is considered sexual assault because the minor cannot legally give consent.

Under Illinois law, the age of consent for any type of sexual activity is usually 17 years. This means that anyone younger than 17 years cannot lawfully consent to any type of sex act that involves the touching of any sex organ.  Even if the crime involves consensual sexual activity between two 16 year olds, both could be prosecuted and forced to register as sex offenders since they are both under the legal “age of consent.”

Sex crime laws with minors include:

  • Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault –a person under the age of 17 has sex or uses force or threats to have sex with a minor at least 9 years old, but under 13.
  • Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child – a person 17-years-old or older has sex with a minor under 13.
  • Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse –a person 17-years-old or older has sex with a minor under 13; or with a minor at least 13 years old, but under 17.
  • Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse – a person under 17 has sexual conduct with a minor under 9; or with a minor at least 9 years old, but under the age of 17.

If a person is an authority figure or supervisor, such as a teacher, church leader, or a coach, the age of consent becomes 18 years of age.

Violation of sexual assault laws in Illinois can result in four years to life in prison, depending on the circumstances and whether there were prior rape convictions.  A third or subsequent offense is a Class 1 felony and may become a Class X felony, depending on circumstances.

2) Other Crimes Involving Minors

The Illinois Criminal Code of 1961 – Article 10, deals with other crimes against minors.
These include:

Luring of a minor

When someone 18 years of age or older knowingly contacts or communicates electronically with a minor under 15 for an unlawful purpose or with the intent to persuade, lure or transport the minor without consent from the minor’s parent or legal guardian. The crime of luring a minor can be a Class B misdemeanor to a Class 2 felony, depending on circumstances.

Unlawful visitation or parenting time interference

This involves violations of the visitation, parenting time, or custody time provisions of a court order relating to child custody.  It occurs when a person detains or conceals a child with the intent to deprive another person of visitation, parenting time, or custody time.  Initial violations are considered to be petty offenses, but after two prior convictions of unlawful visitation interference, this becomes a Class A misdemeanor.

Harboring a runaway

This occurs when someone knowingly gives shelter to a minor who is not emancipated, for more than 48 hours without the consent of the minor’s parent or guardian, and without notifying the local law enforcement authorities. Conviction is a Class A misdemeanor.

Aiding or abetting child abduction

This occurs when, before or during the commission of a child abduction and with the intent to promote or facilitate such offense, a person intentionally aids or abets another in the planning or commission of child abduction, without trying to prevent it. Violation is a Class 4 felony.

Defenses

Defense to any sex crime or other crimes where the “victim” is under the age of consent is often that the accused had a valid reason to believe that the “victim” was of legal age. In cases involving luring of a minor, it may be argued that the minor needed assistance in an emergency situation.

In parental visitation cases, it is a defense if the act was committed to protect the child from imminent physical harm, if it was committed with the mutual consent of all parties, or if it was otherwise authorized by law.

Much of the evidence in age-of-consent cases may be circumstantial, and defenses will depend on the specific details of your case and the evidence available.

Put Your Trust In Us — Contact Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. for a Free Consultation.

If you have been charged with any crime involving minors in Illinois, you need to hire the best criminal defense attorney that you can find.  The experienced and seasoned Illinois criminal defense attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. will examine the facts, the individuals involved, and the evidence available to determine the best approach to building a defense based on the unique details of your case.

We know the courts, the system, and the judges, and will tirelessly work with our clients throughout the criminal process to determine when to negotiate a plea bargain and when to take a case to trial. Our goal is always to minimize the negative impact of the situation and to focus on protecting your freedoms, liberties and rights.

We are aggressive litigators and will answer all your questions and make sure you fully understand the facts surrounding your case.  We represent clients in DuPage County, Naperville, Aurora, Wheaton, Downers Grove and Bolingbrook, and the greater Chicagoland area.

Delaying can only make your situation worse, so contact us and call 630-305-0222 today to schedule your free initial consultation.

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