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Illinois defines a delinquent as any person who commits a crime prior to his/her 17th birthdate.
If a minor is arrested they can either be held at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center until their first court appearance, or the minor is sent home with a date to appear in court.
If a minor if held in detention, then a hearing must be held within 40 hours of the minor’s arrest, to decide if they will remain in custody while awaiting trial. A judge makes this determination based on whether or not there is probable cause to believe that the minor committed the offense. The juvenile can be held in detention, placed on home confinement or placed in a shelter while awaiting trial. Factors that the court looks at in making this decision include the history of prior delinquencies, previous failures to appear in court and availabilities of alternatives to detention.
At trial, the state must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt that the minor is delinquent. In these cases, there is no right to a jury trial. If the Judge determines that the minor is found to be guilty, then the case moves to sentencing.
At sentencing the Judge receives a report called a social investigation. This report is a thorough investigation about the minor and includes their criminal history, use of drugs, home life, school attendance and grades, attitude, etc. The Judge has three options when deciding to sentence a minor. The minor can be 1) placed on probation with various conditions (e.g. school attendance, community service, counseling, etc.), 2) Order the minor serve up to 30 days in detention as a condition of probation, or 3) commit the minor to the Department of Corrections (prison) for an indefinite amount of time that can last until the minor’s 21st birthday. The length of time to be served is based on the seriousness of the crime charged and the minor’s behavior while in prison.
The Juvenile court is focused on rehabilitation over punishment. The goal of the court it to ensure the welfare and safety of the minor, while preserving family bonds. An adjudication as a delinquent is not a conviction for a crime and does not need to be disclosed in future job applications.
Contact us immediately if your son or daughter has been charged as a juvenile in any of the following:
Our goal is to make sure your child’s lapse in judgment doesn’t become part of their permanent record. Understandably this is a stressful time; a knowledgeable and dedicated attorney can help ensure that your child’s rights are being protected. Call today. (630) 780-8242.