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What Are My Child's Rights if they are Charged with a Crime?

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Juvenile crime is a complex issue that affects not only the young defendants but also their families and communities. Today, we will discuss crimes juveniles are often accused of, police interrogation rules for juveniles, and common questions regarding juvenile crime. If your son or daughter has been charged with a crime, do not hesitate to contact a juvenile criminal defense attorney.

Illinois Juvenile Justice System

Juvenile crimes are usually handled in a separate justice system, as it is generally recognized that young people have a greater capacity for change and rehabilitation. In Illinois, the juvenile justice system aims to provide rehabilitative services and interventions to help young offenders get back on track and prevent future criminal behavior. In addition, the system strongly emphasizes the child's best interests, recognizing that children and adolescents have unique needs and vulnerabilities.

Some of the most common crimes that juveniles are charged with include:

Juveniles can be charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses. In some cases, a teenager may be tried as an adult in Illinois. Depending on the severity of the alleged offense, the juvenile’s age, and his or her criminal history, a juvenile criminal case may be transferred to adult criminal court. If a juvenile aged 16 or 17 years old is accused of homicide, sexual assault, or aggravated battery, the case may be automatically transferred to adult court.

Regardless of whether your son or daughter allegedly committed a misdemeanor or a felony, a qualified juvenile crimes attorney can provide you with the legal assistance your child needs.

Answers to Common Questions Regarding Juvenile Crime

If your child was accused of a criminal offense, you may be overwhelmed with questions and concerns:

  • Can my son or daughter be questioned without a parent or legal guardian present? – Police are authorized to question a minor without his or her parent being there unfortunately, and law enforcement is not obligated to wait to question a juvenile until a parent or guardian arrive. However, minors have a right to remain silent and can refuse to answer police officers’ questions.
  • Can the police coerce my child into a confession? Illinois was one of the first states in the nation to pass a law forbidding police from lying to juvenile criminal defendants during interrogations. Law enforcement officers are prohibited from knowingly using deceptive tactics to try and pry a confession out of a juvenile. However, it is in the child's best interests to have a lawyer present during the questioning to ensure their rights are not violated.
  • Can my son or daughter be questioned without a lawyer present? – Yes. An attorney does not need to be present for a police officer to begin questioning. However, the police officer must read the juvenile his or her rights, including the right to an attorney, before the questioning commences. It is always advised to have an attorney present during an interrogation.

Contact a Will County Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney

If your son or daughter has been arrested, contact Will and Grundy County juvenile criminal defense lawyer for help. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation.

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