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Illinois defense attorneySometimes, young people make mistakes. When that happens, Illinois law allows them to be tried in juvenile court as long as they are under the age of 18. If your child has been arrested or charged with a crime, the matter will be handled in a very different way than it would be in an adult courtroom. Nonetheless, ensuring you have a good attorney to help your family through the process can make things easier on all involved.

Many Differences

Unlike proceedings in regular court, juvenile proceedings have differing nomenclature and require different people and things. For example, representation by an attorney is required in all cases in Illinois juvenile court, and in most cases, a putative offender’s parents are also required to be present. Also, under Illinois law, minors who commit crimes are not seen as criminals, per se; rather, they are seen as “delinquent minors,” and the focus in most juvenile cases is intended to be on rehabilitation, rather than retribution. This does not always play out, but the general slant of the law pointed is in this manner.

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Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, supplying to a minor, alcohol legislation,Underage drinking has always - and may always be - a problem. Some parents advocate for “controlled environment” drinking, where they may allow their minor children and friends to drink alcohol so long as the parents are home and no one drives. While there are arguments to be made that this policy may decrease alcohol abuse later in life, Illinois has made it clear that these practices are against the law. A new law that went into effect January 1, 2015 will punish parents for providing alcohol to minors on their property, even on their boats, trailers, or other personal property. This law seeks to curb the epidemic of drinking and driving offenses on our roads and limit the amount of juvenile offenders susceptible to criminal involvement.

Supplying to a Minor in Illinois

The first wave of this parent-minor oriented legislation came back in 2013 when Illinois first specified that it is a crime to provide alcohol to minors at the parents’ home. This includes mere knowledge that minors are drinking in their household, whether they supplied it to the minors or not. According to the law, a violation of this sort may result in a Class A misdemeanor, the highest and most severe classification of misdemeanors.

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juvenile sentencingMaking bad decisions as a child can have real, life altering, adult consequences. There are nearly 3,000 incarcerated persons serving life sentences without the possibility of parole for crimes they committed as youth. When we hear “life without parole,” this means that no matter how good the behavior of the incarcerated person, and regardless of whether he or she becomes rehabilitated or educated, that person will stay in prison for the duration of his or her life without exception.

This controversial practice was addressed by the United States Supreme Court in 2012, in a landmark case titled Miller v. Alabama. This case held that mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole are unconstitutional. Read that carefully: the court decision does not mean that juveniles cannot be given a life sentence without the possibility of parole. It simply means that this cannot be a mandatory sentence, i.e., the court must consider the unique characteristics of the offender and any special circumstances before handing out such a sentence.

Juvenile Criminals in Illinois

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crime in warm weatherAs warmer weather finally begins to reach the state of Illinois, residents call to mind thoughts of upcoming barbecues, festivals, parties and camping trips. Speaking from a defense attorney’s perspective though, warmer weather also brings about something else: a rise in violent crime.

Recent studies suggest that the rise in temperature in seasonal climates like Illinois accompanies a rise in violent crimes such as murder, rapes, assaults, and thefts. One study even goes so far as to suggest the temperature increase due to warming would trigger violent crimes to rise by one to three percent over the next century, with social costs estimated to run as high as $115 billion.

Increase in violent crime rates in warmer weather may occur for a variety of reasons. First, summer gatherings beget more opportunities for socializing, which in turn leads to a rise in social confrontations and tension. Second, given that a large percentage of violent crimes are perpetuated by juveniles, the onset of summer break may be another factor that contributes to the rise in crime. Third, police officers, like most other Illinois residents, simply enjoy the nice weather. Officers are more likely to work overtime, be more attentive while working, and accept assignments patrolling high crime areas, often by foot.

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On Monday August 27th, Governor Pat Quinn went to the Elgin High School to enact an important piece of legislature that will protect the safety of schools in Illinois.  The reason that the bill was signed in Elgin was to commemorate a teacher who was attacked by a student while trying to do her job.  This unfortunate attack would have been avoided if police departments communicated more with local school districts.

Four years ago, Carolyn Gilbert was grading papers at her desk.  A student in her class then threw a coat over her head and repeatedly stabbed her face with a steak knife.  Witnessses said that Angel Facio, then 16, did not stop wounding his teacher until the knife broke.  She lost sight in her left eye from the attacks and dedicated herself to come back to teaching.

Angel Facio was later found to be guilty of attempted first degree murder.  He was also found guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a 9 year old.  Angel was under investigation for the latter sexual assault crime at the time he attacked his teacher.  The thought behind House Bill 5602 is to prevent this from happening again.  Before this new law, police departments would only share information about students if they were arrested or detained in connection with a crime.

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