Juvenile Defense Attorney
Juvenile Adjudications Lawyer Illinois
Juvenile Adjudications Lawyer in Illinois. In Illinois, the legal process for juveniles charged with a crime and adults is different. While it’s certainly frightening to find out your child is in trouble with the law, you can ensure their life and future are not significantly interrupted with the help of a compassionate and understanding Illinois juvenile adjudications lawyer. Drummond Law has over 40 years of experience helping the vulnerable in Illinois and throughout the Midwest find justice and peace. If your child is not having their best moment, call an Illinois juvenile adjudications lawyer at Drummond Law at 217-388-1103 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Convictions vs. Juvenile Adjudications in Illinois
In Illinois, “convictions” are reserved for adults or minors who are tried as adults because the crime was sexual or violent in nature. Depending on the severity of the crime and whether it was a felony or misdemeanor, the penalties could include prison or jail time, probation, restitution to the victim and/or fines.
When a juvenile is found guilty of a crime, the court refers to it as an “adjudication” rather than a conviction. While no Illinois statute expressly states that a juvenile adjudication does not constitute a criminal conviction, the Illinois Supreme Court noted in The PEOPLE v. Taylor that Illinois courts have long upheld that a juvenile adjudication “is not a conviction.”
The Difference Between Criminal Cases and Juvenile Adjudications in Illinois
There are many crucial differences between adult court and juvenile court in Illinois:
- Generally speaking, under 705 ILCS 405/1-5, the general public is excluded from juvenile adjudication hearings.
- Minors usually do not enjoy the right to a jury trial that adults do, so a judge will likely decide your child’s case.
- Minors cannot be held in county jails.
- There are time limits to how long a minor can be initially detained. For example, a child under 12 cannot be held by police for more than 6 hours.
- Representation by an attorney is a requirement in juvenile court (whereas in adult court it is only an option).
- There are no bail or bond options in juvenile court in Illinois. That means a judge might not immediately release a minor after a hearing. An experienced juvenile adjudications lawyer can prevent that from happening.
Some of these differences are beneficial, while others are clearly not. That means that you need an Illinois juvenile adjudications lawyer like those at Drummond Law who has experience in the juvenile justice system and how to use the law in your and your child’s favor.
What Does a Juvenile Adjudication Mean for My Child in Illinois?
A juvenile adjudication in Illinois typically leads to more lenient penalties than a criminal conviction, especially if you have the help of a juvenile adjudications lawyer. A juvenile being sent to a detention center is relatively rare, and the maximum sentence is 30 days. Illinois courts are generally wary of taking minors away from a positive home situation, so most likely your child will be sentenced to community service, probation, house arrest, rehabilitation courses or a combination thereof. As stated in 705 ILCS 405/5-101, the goal of the courts in juvenile cases is to hold juvenile offenders accountable for their actions while equipping them with the wisdom to live “responsibly and productively.” However, police and prosecutors in Illinois are often overzealous and you need a juvenile adjudications lawyer to ensure your child’s rights are protected. A juvenile adjudication can also restrict your entire family’s access to public housing or other services, so you’ll need a talented and experienced Illinois juvenile adjudications lawyer to try and get the charges dropped.
Expungement and Sealing of Juvenile Adjudications in Illinois
Many people mistakenly believe that juvenile records are automatically sealed or expunged after a certain time period, but that is not the case. The general public will only have access to records involving violent, sexual or drug-related offenses. But colleges and employers will be able to see the entirety of their records, which could limit your child’s ability to work, access to higher education and ability to receive financial aid. In order to set your child up for the best chance of success, it’s important to find a juvenile adjudications lawyer that also offers expungement and record sealing services in Illinois.
How a Juvenile Adjudications Lawyer in Illinois Can Help
When you hire a juvenile adjudications lawyer in Illinois, we’ll start investigating your case right away and work with you and your family to develop the best legal strategy. Our first priority will always be to get the charges dropped, or have the charges diverted or dealt with informally. However, depending on the specifics of your case, we may determine it’s better to try to reduce the charges, make a plea bargain for a lesser sentence or ask the judge for leniency. In some cases, we may think we have a great case and will take the fight to trial.
As we work on your case, some of what we’ll consider is:
- Were your child’s rights violated? Minors have the same Fourth Amendment and Fifth Amendment rights as adults. If their rights were violated because of unethical police work, much of the evidence would be inadmissible and the case may be thrown out.
- Were your rights violated? As a parent or guardian, you have the right to be present during questioning (even if your child’s only being questioned as witness), a right to know why your child was arrested or detained and a right to have an attorney present with your child. Police also must make a reasonable effort to contact you as quickly as possible.
- Are the charges really appropriate? Your child may have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time or made friends with the wrong people. Or maybe they’re an “A” student with no prior record, or had difficulties in their life that influenced them to make a poor decision. Your Drummond Law juvenile adjudications lawyer in Illinois will reason with the judge and help them see that the charges brought do not reflect your child’s character.
Throughout the legal process, a juvenile adjudications lawyer at Drummond Law be by your side and give you and your child sound legal counsel and all the information you need to make the right decision for your family.
Illinois Juvenile Adjudications Lawyer | Drummond Law
We know that calling a juvenile adjudications lawyer was never a phone call you wanted to make. We also know that this is an uncertain time and you’re worried for your child’s future. Let an experienced and empathetic Illinois juvenile adjudications lawyer from Drummond Law put your mind at ease and guide you through this process. We will be a strong, honest and dependable advocate for your family. Call an Illinois juvenile adjudications lawyer at Drummond Law today at 217-388-1103 or contact us online for a free case review.