Teenage boy in handcuffs after being arrestedThis is the final post in a series of articles discussing defending against criminal charges brought against juveniles in Peoria, Illinois. While in the case of certain serious offenses, a child aged 16 or 17 will automatically be transferred to adult court, the prosecution may request that a juvenile be tried as an adult for other criminal offenses as well. In cases where the juvenile court must approve of the transfer, your child’s attorney will have the opportunity to challenge the request. Children tried as adults will be subject to the more stringent rules and procedures applicable to the adult justice system and, if convicted, subject to adult criminal penalties. Given the serious consequences of a conviction, I cannot overstate the importance of contacting an experienced criminal attorney as soon as possible to assist with their defense. If your child has been charged with a crime, contact my office today to speak with an attorney.

The topics discussed throughout this series have included:

It is imperative that the accused and their parents or caregivers understand these points for several reasons. As referenced in the preceding articles, the primary objective of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate children who run afoul of the law and to prevent them from committing additional crimes in the future. Cases involving minor charges or first-time offenses rarely result in incarceration and are generally handled through counseling, probation, community service or other less onerous penalties. Repeat offenders or those who commit serious offenses, including violent crimes, or those involving hard drugs or firearms, may face harsher punishments including incarceration in a juvenile facility. Depending upon the child’s age, nature of the charge, and criminal history, among other things, the prosecutor may even request that the minor be transferred to adult court. Under Illinois law, kids who are 16 or 17 who are charged with homicide, sexual assault, or using a gun to commit aggravated assault will automatically be tried as an adult. In each case, consulting with an attorney as soon as possible can help ensure that all possible defenses are identified and that the child’s legal rights are protected.

When a child is accused of a crime, many parents do not know how best to respond. To understand your child’s legal rights, contact an experienced attorney immediately. If you need assistance, my Peoria office is ready to assist you. In addition to Peoria, we also serve clients in Bloomington, Decatur, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington and the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford. Areas where we handle federal cases include Peoria, Springfield, Champaign, and Rock Island.