Illinois has a strong history of juvenile justice. The state was the first in the U.S. to create a separate court for juvenile offenders around the beginning of the 20th century, and it has since influenced the majority of other states to follow suit. Juvenile courts are critical to the rehabilitation of youth who find themselves in trouble with the law. In Illinois, however, there are certain circumstances in which a juvenile offender’s case can be heard in adult criminal court, rather than juvenile court.
Factors Used to Determine Whether a Transfer is Warranted
Changes to Illinois law in 2015 got rid of all mandatory transfers for juvenile offenders. The change in law also prevents anyone who is 16 or 17 years old from being transferred to criminal court unless the charges they are facing are forcible felonies, such as murder. Even then, the judge has the final say before the case is transferred.
Any minor who is over the age of 13 can face transfer to adult court if the prosecution can prove that the transfer would be in the best interest of public safety and/or the juvenile themself. In cases in which a judge has discretion over whether or not a juvenile’s case is transferred to criminal court, there are a variety of factors that must be considered. These factors include:
- The minor’s age
- Whether or not the minor has any previous criminal or delinquency history
- Any history of abuse or neglect perpetrated against the minor
- The minor’s physical, mental and emotional health
- The minor’s educational history
- The seriousness of the offense the minor has been charged with
- Whether or not the minor was charged with the offense through accountability, meaning they were not an active participant
- The presence or absence of evidence pointing toward the crime being committed in a premeditated or aggressive manner
- Whether or not there is evidence that the offense caused serious bodily harm to an individual
- Whether or not the minor possessed a deadly weapon during the offense
- The advantages of treatment in the juvenile justice system, including whether or not there are programs available that would help the minor
- The history of the willingness of the minor to participate in services and treatment that are available
- Whether or not the minor will complete rehabilitation before they turn 18
- The effectiveness of the services provided by the juvenile court
Contact Our McHenry County Juvenile Crime Defense Attorneys Today
If you or your child has been charged with a crime, there is a chance that the case could be tried in criminal court, rather than adult court. At Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, we believe that juveniles deserve a chance at rehabilitation through the juvenile justice system. Our skilled team of Crystal Lake, IL juvenile crime defense lawyers will fight to keep your case in the juvenile court system. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your options, call our office today at 815-338-3838.