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Why You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer for Juvenile Crime in Chicago

Juvenile Offenses: Seeking Counsel From a Criminal Defense Attorney

Is your child facing charges for a misdemeanor or felony offense in Illinois? Consulting with a competent criminal defense attorney is crucial. Juvenile crimes can significantly impact your child’s future.

A juvenile record can affect their opportunity to attend their college of choice. If they are on a scholarship, it may cause the school to withdraw that benefit. Other adverse consequences may arise, especially if your child is tried in an adult court.

At the Hirsch Law Group, we understand how emotionally draining the whole process can be. We can fight your child’s charges and help them avoid a conviction. No matter how severe the charges may be, we are experienced and ready to represent them.

Understanding Juvenile Laws in Chicago

In Illinois, juvenile crimes occur when a minor under seventeen commits a crime. This may be a misdemeanor or felony. Minors involved in criminal acts are charged under the juvenile justice system. 

The punishment for juvenile crimes is usually not as serious as an adult court’s punishment for the same crime. The juvenile court system focuses on rehabilitating young offenders rather than punishment. This means they are more likely to be given a second chance under the juvenile system.

In certain circumstances, the prosecution may request that the court deviate from the norm. This involves the trial of a juvenile (over the age of fifteen) in an adult court. In making its decision, the court may consider the following:

  • The seriousness of the crime

  • The juvenile’s criminal history

  • The age of the juvenile

  • The type of crime

A juvenile convicted in an adult court may receive the maximum punishment under the law. Most times, these punishments are very harsh and can change their future forever. This is why it is important to have a skilled lawyer fighting beside you. We can analyze the situation and craft a defense strategy to protect your child’s freedom.

What Are the Rights of a Juvenile in Chicago?

Under the U.S. Constitution, juveniles have the same rights and freedoms as adults. If you are a juvenile, the police officer must have probable cause before arresting you. However, they can search and detain you if they reasonably suspect you committed a criminal offense.

During questioning, you have the right to remain silent. You do not have to respond to the officer’s questions. Police officers often use interrogation techniques that can lead to false confessions. You have the right to have an attorney or guardian present during questioning.

The Fifth Amendment protects you from self-incrimination. Therefore, you can refuse to answer questions that suggest your involvement in a crime. After an arrest, the police are required to contact your legal guardian to inform them about the situation.

What Are Some Common Juvenile Crimes in Chicago?

There are several types of criminal offenses that may involve a juvenile. The most common types of juvenile crimes in Chicago include:

  • Assault

  • Burglary

  • Driving under the influence

  • Drug crimes

  • Possession of a firearm

  • Property crimes

  • Reckless driving

  • Sex crimes

  • Theft related offenses

If you believe your child committed a juvenile offense, it is advisable to speak to an attorney immediately. Felony charges are serious charges that can be transferred to adult court. The prosecution will not go easy on your child just because they made a mistake. It is imperative that you call an experienced criminal defense lawyer. They can gather evidence to defend your child’s innocence and protect their rights.

What Happens After the Arrest of a Juvenile?

After a juvenile is taken into custody, several possible scenarios may occur. But, it will depend on the minor’s age and the type of offense committed. A minor under twelve can only be detained for six hours. They must be released to their parent or guardian once this period elapses.

If the minor is over twelve, the police can detain them for up to twenty-four hours. Minors close to eighteen who commit serious offenses may be held as adults. If the offense is drug-related, the police may require the juvenile to undergo testing.

What Are the Possible Penalties for Juvenile Crimes in Chicago?

When it comes to sentencing in juvenile cases, judges exercise a lot of discretion. They may consider several factors, including the minor’s cognitive abilities. Juvenile courts issue penalties that aim to educate juveniles and reduce criminal behavior. 

The judge may order one or more of the following penalties:

  • Court supervision: The court may order the monitoring of a minor first-time offender. It is usually awarded in cases involving less serious crimes. If the juvenile completes the supervision conditions, they will not be found guilty.

  • Community service: The juvenile may have to work in the community for certain hours. This may increase their accountability and reconnect them to the community.

  • Fines: The juvenile may be required to pay a fine to the government.

  • House arrest: The judge may order the juvenile defendant to remain at home. In certain circumstances, exceptions to the condition may apply (e.g., attending school).

  • Juvenile detention or prison: The judge imposes it in cases involving serious crimes or habitual offenders. They may sentence the minor to confinement in a Chicago juvenile detention center.

  • Probation: A juvenile may be placed on probation with conditions. Juveniles on probation must report to their probation officer as directed by the court.

  • Restitution: The court may order the juvenile to pay for stolen or damaged property.

How Can a Chicago Juvenile Crimes Defense Attorney Help?

At the Hirsch Law Group, our criminal defense lawyers have experience handling juvenile cases. We know the ins and outs of the juvenile justice system. We are also familiar with the various pathways for avoiding conviction. Our attorneys can assist you in the following ways:

  • Look out for violations against your child’s constitutional rights

  • Help you understand your child’s charges and available options

  • Negotiate a plea agreement before trial to reduce or drop the charges

  • Persuade the court to follow rehabilitative measures instead of a detention sentence

  • Provide legal representation for your child in juvenile court

Contact a Chicago Defense Lawyer Today

Was your child arrested for a juvenile crime in Chicago? Then, you need the help of a criminal defense attorney immediately. We know this is an emotional time for you and your family, and we want to help.

Our law firm has represented several juvenile clients in Chicago. We can represent your child and help protect their future. Your child deserves a second chance, and we can fight for their freedom.

Contact the Hirsch Law Group for consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys. We can begin building a defense against your child’s criminal charges.