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Juvenile Defense Attorney Serving Waukegan and the Northern Suburbs of Chicago

Illinois was the first state to establish a separate court for children, enacting a court system for juveniles that would soon be emulated by the rest of the nation. While most Illinois juveniles are able to avoid getting into trouble with the law, young people do make mistakes as a part of the growing-up process. One moment of poor judgment, or one bad decision should not be allowed to alter the entire course of your child's future. Despite opinions to the contrary, the vast majority of juvenile offenders are neither violent nor repeat offenders, and most deserve a second chance. If your child has been charged with a criminal offense, you are likely extremely worried about how this arrest will affect his or her future.

The sooner you speak to an experienced Illinois juvenile offense attorney, the greater likelihood of a positive outcome. The Law Offices of Matthew R. Gebhardt, P.C. have helped many parents and children who were frightened and anxious about the criminal charges filed against the minor. Our Northbrook juvenile defense attorney understands that while the Illinois juvenile justice system is different from the adult system, in some cases it is not more lenient. Turn some of your worry over to Matthew R. Gebhardt—his many years' of experience and knowledge of Florida juvenile laws will benefit your child's future.

Lake County Juvenile Crimes Your Child Could be Charged With

The most common juvenile crime is theft, or shoplifting. Other common juvenile crimes include:

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automatic transfer, new law, Schaumberg Criminal Defense LawyerAlthough a ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court last fall affirmed the constitutionality of automatic transfer of juveniles to adult court in certain cases, the state’s High Court urged legislators to review the existing process. In People v. Patterson, the Supreme Court determined that, while process in juvenile court is not a guaranteed right of a defendant, more judicial oversight and discretion would help improve effectiveness of the criminal court system. As of now, the court opined, the use of mandatory transfers fails to address the individuality of a situation, which is often necessary in juvenile cases.

House Bill 3718

In response to the urging of the Supreme Court, a measure was introduced to the Illinois House in February of 2014 designed to reduce the use of automatic transfers to adult courts for juveniles. With the help of sponsors Representative Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, and Senator Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, the bill was passed by both the House and Senate fairly easily and sent to Governor Bruce Rauner for approval earlier this summer. Governor Rauner signed the legislation in August, and the law is set to take effect on January 1, 2016.

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Juvenile plea agreements are made between the juvenile defendant and the state’s attorney. In a plea agreement, the juvenile defendant will plead guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence. These agreements must be approved by a judge, after which a hearing date will be set.

Trials will only occur for the following reasons:

  • the youth chooses not to plead guilty,
  • the youth does not agree to the plea agreement,
  • the youth was not separated from the system,
  • or the prosecutor did not dismiss all of the charges filed against the child.

Because juveniles do not have the constitutional right to a jury trial, juvenile trials are bench trials. Law states that these trials must occur within 120 days of the child’s demand for a trial, although in some instances this date can be held off for an additional 30 days. However, in the cases of violent juvenile offenders, habitual juvenile offenders, and extended juvenile jurisdiction prosecution, the juveniles do have the right to a trial with a jury.

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