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When Can a Juvenile Criminal Case Be Transferred to Adult Court?

Posted on in Criminal Law

Cook County juvenile justice lawyerThe juvenile justice system was created with the understanding that children are different from adults, mainly because they have more of a chance of reforming their behavior before they reach adulthood. In 1899, Illinois was the first state to create a justice system for children that was separate than the one for adults. Though the juvenile justice systems of today are much different than they were 100 years ago, they retain the same idea -- that the main goal is to educate the child and change their behavior, rather than punish them.

Even though there is a separate court for those who are under the age of 18, not all juvenile offenders are tried as minors. Many juvenile criminal cases are transferred to adult court, which works quite differently. If a prosecutor feels the need, they can request that a juvenile be tried as an adult, but the judge must consider a number of factors before this happens.

Age and Background of the Child

First and foremost, a judge will consider the child’s age when deciding whether or not to transfer a criminal case to adult court. In Illinois, most cases involving juveniles age 17 or younger will stay in juvenile court, though there are certain offenses that will automatically go to adult court, such as murder. The judge will also consider the child’s history, such as previous criminal arrests, previous neglect or abuse to the child, and the child’s mental health and educational history.

Circumstances of the Offense

Next, the judge will examine the circumstances surrounding the offense. The judge will take into consideration the seriousness of the offense, whether the crime was committed in an aggressive and/or premeditated manner, and whether there is evidence that the minor possessed a deadly weapon.

Advantages of the Juvenile Justice System

The point of the juvenile justice system is to provide children with the chance to change their behavior and become a law-abiding adult. The judge will look at what the juvenile justice system can do for the minor in question and determine whether or not it would be of any advantage to keep them out of adult court. 

A Cook County Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

If your child has run into trouble with the law, you will want to do everything you can to help them achieve a positive outcome to their case. Before you go to court with your child, you need to hire a skilled Orland Park juvenile crime defense lawyer to be by your side. At the Law Office of John S. Fotopoulos, P.C., we will fight to have your child tried in juvenile court at all costs. Contact our office today by calling 708-942-8400 to schedule a free consultation. 

Sources:

https://www.justice.gov/jm/criminal-resource-manual-131-six-factors-consider-and-prove-transfer

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=1863&ChapterID=50

National Rifle Association Illinois State Bar Association Chicago Bar Association Illinois Trial Lawyers Association Cook County Bar Association National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys The John Marshall Law School Hellenic Bar Association Will County Bar Association National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
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