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Juvenile Offense / Crime Attorneys

Juvenile Crime Lawyers Serving Kane, Kendall & DeKalb Counties

Regardless of the exact age in question, committing a crime is serious and should not be taken lightly. Having said that, however, it does seem as though certain criminals should receive more leniency than others. Children, for example, often commit crimes without fully understanding the consequences of their actions. Because of this, it is almost always preferable to have them undergo a period of education and reform rather than one of strict punishment. To ensure that your child is fairly represented and is given the chance for rehabilitation, it is important to contact a criminal defense attorney skilled in juvenile offenses.

Depending upon the specific crimes in question, a juvenile offense is not something to just ignore. This is especially true should the crime be serious enough that the child in question is facing a record rather than something like community service. If their crime results in a criminal charge, juvenile offenses could affect your child for the rest of their life. And while it is important that children learn from their mistakes, at Van Der Snick Law Firm, LTD we do not believe that they should have to do so from behind bars. We know that children make mistakes somehow, and we work hard to make sure that they are able to leave those mistakes behind them with no lasting effect on their adult lives if at all possible.

Juveniles in the Adult Criminal Justice System

Juveniles used to face a dim future if they were convicted of certain crimes. In fact, as recently as in 2016 minors that were 15 years old and older were tried as adults if their crimes were any of the following:

  • Aggravated battery with a firearm.
  • Aggravated sexual assault at a criminal level
  • First degree murder.
  • Aggravated vehicular hijacking, including a firearm.
  • Armed Robbery with a firearm.

If a juvenile was charged with any of the above, then they were automatically tried in the adult criminal justice system. Furthermore, if they ever committed another crime as a juvenile after being convicted and tried in adult criminal court, they were subsequently automatically tried as an adult for those following offenses.

Today, minors who are younger than 16 have their trials begin in juvenile court. That is regardless of the crime, too – even if they commit one of the aforementioned five crimes listed above, they will at least start their trials in criminal court. Additionally, there are now just three crimes that result in a juvenile 16 years or older being automatically tried as an adult:

  • Aggravated criminal sexual assault.
  • First degree murder.
  • Aggravated battery with a firearm.

As an extension of this law, a minor that was previously convicted and tried in an adult criminal court will no longer automatically be tried as an adult on subsequent crimes.

Adult Criminal System vs. Juvenile Criminal System

The main difference between the adult and juvenile criminal justice systems is the aim of the sentences that are handed out. While the adult criminal system focuses on punishment, the juvenile system focuses more on rehabilitation and education. Juvenile court takes the fact that children are still maturing and still have time to develop and change their behavior into account, and therefore their sentences tend to be focused upon educating the child in question. The adult criminal system places very little focus on rehabilitation at all – the purpose is almost entirely one of punishment.

With that said, the two systems do have certain similarities.

These include the following:

  • The right to an attorney.
  • The right to confront and cross-examine witnesses.
  • The right to receive notification of their exact charges.
  • The right not to self-incriminate.
  • The right to a fair trial or hearing.

At Van Der Snick Law Firm, LTD we believe that it is important to take advantage of your child’s right to an attorney and right to a fair trial. You should reach out to us as quickly as possible once your child has been arrested or is being questioned so that we can help keep control of the situation. We understand how to work to prevent issues like self-incrimination, and will spend our time determining the best way to defend your child in court.

Contact The Juvenile Crime Attorneys At Van Der Snick Law Firm, LTD – we can help you and your child!