When minors are arrested and charged with a crime, the ramifications can damage their lives forever. Entering the juvenile justice system, for even relatively minor crimes, such as shoplifting or underage drinking, can be a frightening and life-changing experience. More serious crimes, such as possession and trafficking of drugs or prostitution, can lead to serving time in a juvenile correctional facility.
When juveniles are charged as adults, they can face the same punishments as adults, including being sentenced to time in regular prison. And those juveniles who wind up in trial have to go through the same process as an adult– with attorneys making opening statements, witnesses testifying and being cross-examined, and the judge’s deciding on their fate after hearing all evidence and closing arguments.
If your child has been accused of a crime, you want to hire the best juvenile criminal defense lawyer possible. The experienced and seasoned Illinois criminal law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. understand the seriousness of the situation and offer aggressive representation for children facing criminal charges.
Our attorneys investigate each case fully and look for effective strategies to overcome the prosecution’s case. We know the courts and the system and are prepared to work with the court to find alternatives to boot camps and juvenile detention. We have been successful in helping other juveniles and will do everything possible to defend your child’s rights and enable their rehabilitation.
We offer a free initial consultation for juveniles accused of any criminal charges, so get legal help today by emailing or calling our offices.
Illinois considers offenders to be juveniles depending on type of offense and age at the time the offense was committed. For a misdemeanor, the age is 17 or younger; for a felony it is 16 or younger.
Children tried as juveniles have most of the same rights as adults would have, including the right to be represented by an attorney, to remain silent, and to cross-examine witnesses; and their guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In some situations, a juvenile may be tried as an adult, in the criminal courthouse of that county, with adult courtroom procedures and penalties. Juvenile court records are sealed and not open to employers, colleges and the general public.
The first step in the juvenile justice process is intake, where the prosecutor decides whether or not to file charges. Factors considered might be evidence, the severity of the crime and prior criminal record.
The prosecutor can decide to handle the case informally, press formal charges or dismiss the case entirely. There may be an informal hearing in juvenile or criminal court if a child admits to the crime and agrees to certain requirements, which may include monetary restitution, community service, school attendance or counseling.
An experienced attorney can help convince prosecutors to reduce or dismiss charges by putting together a packet of material that represents the child’s character and achievements.
If negotiations with prosecutors are not successful, the next step would be to request a “402 conference” with the judge or take the case to trial.
Juveniles found guilty may receive court supervision, probation, or a sentence to serve time in a juvenile correctional facility. Alternatives to incarceration include home electronic monitoring, removal from the home and juvenile boot camp.
If there is no separate facility for juveniles, they may be housed with adults as long as they are kept separate from adult inmates with a sight and sound barrier. Convictions can result in a permanent record, affecting education and career opportunities.
In less serious cases, there are also non-incarceration options for juveniles, such as counseling, community service, fines and electronic monitoring. Additional punishments include suspension of driving licenses and loss of the right to get a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID) and Concealed Carry License (CCL).
If your child has been accused of any crime, you should immediately get help to defend your child and minimize the impact on his or her life. The skilled and knowledgeable juvenile crime offense attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., will zealously defend children accused of all felonies and misdemeanors, including:
The criminal defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. are skilled trial lawyers who believe each juvenile case is unique, with its own set of circumstances. We know the courts and the juvenile justice system, how to plea bargain and negotiate guidelines, and we recognize when to take a case to trial.
We gather information quickly and look at all viable defense options to make a decision about the best legal strategy. If we cannot get the charges dropped, we will work to minimize the negative impact of a youthful mistake, seeking alternative sentence programs such as good behavior programs, drug and traffic school, jail tours, and dismissible or intense probation. We seek to make sure your case is not moved into adult court and to protect juvenile offenders from harsh sentencing.
We offer a free consultation to discuss the facts of your child’s individual situation. Do not delay. Contact us online or call our office today to set up your free consultation with an Illinois juvenile delinquency attorney providing juvenile delinquency, juvenile crime defense, juvenile court, juvenile prostitution defense, and various other juvenile law legal services to clients throughout Illinois.
Don’t delay – call or email us for help today. We offer free initial consultations for your convenience.