Reeder & Brown, P.C.


Common Questions About the Illinois Juvenile Justice System

Posted on February 15, 2023 in Criminal Law

joliet juvenile criminal defense lawyerIt is very scary for a parent when their child is charged with a crime, such as underage drinking or retail theft. One of the most frightening aspects is the fact that so many parents are unsure about what to expect, or the penalties their child will face. If your child has been charged with a criminal offense, answers to these common questions about the Illinois juvenile system may help you better understand what can happen.

When Are Minors Tried in Adult Court?

This is perhaps the most common question when a minor is charged with a crime, because a child being tried as an adult is typically the biggest fear for parents. The answer to this question largely depends on the type of criminal offense a minor is accused of committing. Minors aged 17 or younger who are charged with a misdemeanor will likely remain in the juvenile system.

When a minor who is at least 13 years old is accused of committing a felony offense, they may be transferred to adult criminal court, but only after a full hearing on the matter in front a judge. In order for a case to be transferred to adult court, the judge must consider a number of factors, including the seriousness of the alleged offense, the alleged use of a weapon, and the minor’s educational background and history of abuse.

At What Age is a Child Considered a Juvenile?

Prior to January 10, 2010, the maximum age that a person could be and still be considered a juvenile in Illinois was 16 years old. Today, however, anyone 17 years old or younger is presumed to be treated as a juvenile in the state. The age of juveniles is still a topic that is regularly debated within the Illinois legislature.

How Long Can Police Detain My Child After an Arrest?

It is a common misconception that law enforcement cannot detain a minor after they charge them with a crime. When a child is under the age of 12, law enforcement can still detain them for up to six hours. Law enforcement can detain children between the ages of 12 and 17 for up to 12 hours if they are charged with a non-violent crime. If a child aged 12 to 17 is charged with a violent crime, law enforcement can detain them for 24 hours.

Do Police Need My Consent to Question My Child?

Another very common misconception is that law enforcement needs to obtain consent from the parents before they can question a minor. That is not true. Before questioning a minor, law enforcement officers are required to try to contact at least one of the minor’s parents. If a parent cannot be reached, they may contact another adult to be present. Still, law enforcement does not have to wait until a parent or another adult arrives to begin questioning. A juvenile police officer, also known as a youth officer, must be present, however, during the questioning of a juvenile suspect.  

Contact Our Will County Juvenile Law Attorneys

If your child has been charged with a crime, it is of the utmost importance that you work with a dedicated Joliet juvenile law attorney. At Reeder & Brown, P.C., our seasoned attorneys know how to defend against juvenile charges and will ensure the rights of your child are upheld. Contact us today at 815-885-5980 to schedule a free consultation.



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