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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

Juvenile Justice Rights in Illinois

Posted on in Arrest

juvenile justice rightsRegardless of the severity of the crime at issue, youth offenders enjoy the same protections of the criminal justice system as their more seasoned counterparts. They must be read their Miranda rights, must be told they have the right to remain silent, and must be given the right to a fair and impartial trial. In fact, juvenile offenders also enjoy additional protections to ensure fairness in treatment. For example, youth offenders are required to be represented by counsel, and this cannot be waived like it can in most circumstances pertaining to adults. The juvenile offender’s parents are also required to be in court and juvenile offenders enjoy special protections regarding confidentiality of their identity, both during court proceedings and in maintaining court records. These protections are set in stone by law. Other areas of the law are not as clear and raise questions about a youth’s rights and what he or she is capable of consenting to at an age of minority.

Rights of Juveniles

The most fundamental rights during an arrest are the rights read to us before a police interrogation. These include the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present during questioning. Well-established law tells us that these rights must be read to a suspect before he or she can be questioned and possibly incriminate him or herself.

These rights are designed to inform wrongdoers of their legal rights and to ensure they understand they can speak to an attorney and not incriminate themselves. Understanding the true extent of these rights, especially when the offenders are frightened, susceptible to coercion, uneducated, or very young, can be very complicated. As of this writing, the Illinois Supreme Court will hear oral arguments about an issue in which a nine-year-old accused of intentionally killing a minor child allegedly waived his Miranda rights and made incriminating statements to police personnel.

The issue with situations like this is that Miranda rights can be waived (i.e. not followed) only if there is a “knowing and intelligent” waiver of said rights. Responses such as a head nod, silence, questions about the rights, and other statements have dotted the criminal justice system with cases about what exactly constitutes a knowing and intelligent waiver. In the case of a juvenile, there is a concern whether a child can fully understand the rights explained in the Miranda warnings. This is one of many reasons that Illinois law also dictates that a minor under the age of 13 must have an attorney present during police questioning. These are important rights that ensure fairness at all aspects of a youth’s criminal questioning and subsequent trial or plea.

How Can I Enforce my Child’s Rights?

If your child has been accused of a crime, it is important to know what his or her legal rights are. The passionate, experienced juvenile criminal defense attorneys at Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. know how to navigate the juvenile justice system to ensure a favorable outcome for your child. We also understand that all people, especially youth, may make mistakes they do not want to negatively impact their future. That is why our knowledgeable DuPage County juvenile justice attorneys can also help with expungements and sealing juvenile court records to ensure your child can move past this one mistake in his or her life and not have it negatively impact his or her future. If you have any questions about your child’s legal rights, or the possibility of removing a juvenile record, please contact us at (630)472-9700 today.

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