In Illinois, felony and misdemeanor offenses carried out by minors are generally tried in juvenile court. However, status as a juvenile for criminal prosecution purposes depends on the type of criminal offense and the age of the defendant when the offense was allegedly committed.
For misdemeanor offenses, a defendant is tried as a juvenile if the incident in question occurred when they were 17 or younger.
For many felony offenses, youth aged 17 or younger will also be tried as juveniles. Previously, felony offenses committed by 17-year-olds resulted in their being tried as adults, but in 2014, Illinois raised the age for juvenile jurisdiction for most felonies to 17. Certain felonies, however, including many violent offenses, still result in an automatic transfer from juvenile to adult court. This change was in response to advocacy efforts by youth organizations who believe minors should be provided with rehabilitative and restorative services, not adult penalties.
If a juvenile is arrested, the amount of time that they can be held in custody by police officers until they are charged or released depends on their age. For youth under 12 years old, the maximum time they can be detained is 6 hours. Youth from 12-16 years of age can be held for 12 hours if a non-violent crime is being investigated and for up to 24 hours if a violent crime is being investigated.
After being charged with a crime, a juvenile will either be released into the custody of their parents or held in a juvenile detention facility. Although facilities for juveniles are often separate, in some Illinois counties, juveniles are held in the county jail with adults. There must be a visual and auditory barrier between juveniles and adults in such facilities, however.
If a juvenile is tried as an adult, because they meet the criteria for age and type of crime spelled out above, they will be tried as an adult. This means that their case will be heard in the regular criminal courthouse, and it will proceed as any other adult case would. Juveniles tried as adults are subject to the same exact penalties as adult offenders.
If you or a loved one is being tried as an adult for a crime that you allegedly committed as a juvenile, you deserve to be represented by a dedicated Chicago defense attorney. Contact the law office of Goldman & Associates today for a consultation.