Having a juvenile criminal record can certainly have an impact on your future. When you go to apply for colleges or jobs after high school, your juvenile record is likely to come up. However, a juvenile record can typically be expunged or sealed fairly easily in adulthood. If you stay out of trouble as an adult, your juvenile convictions can easily be forgiven or brushed off as a youthful mistake. If you are charged as an adult, however, your conviction can follow you for the rest of your life. You may be sent to jail or prison with adult offenders. This can be a very scary prospect. If you are unsure whether you will be charged as a juvenile or as an adult, it may be best to consult an attorney. An attorney may be able to take steps to keep your case in the juvenile courts.
When Can a Child be Charged as an Adult in DuPage County?
Under limited circumstances, a child under the age of 18 can be charged as an adult and tried in adult court. If you are 16 or 17 years old and charged with murder, aggravated battery using a firearm, or sexual assault, you will automatically be charged as an adult. These crimes are considered very serious–if an older teenager commits one of these crimes, they are engaging in very adult criminal behavior.
A child under 16 years old who is charged with one of these crimes is still at-risk for facing adult court. The prosecution can make a request to the courts asking them to move the case out of juvenile court due to the seriousness of the offense. However, your attorney can fight back and make an argument to keep your case in the juvenile system.
If you have only been charged with a misdemeanor, your case is likely to remain in juvenile court. Judges do understand that children make mistakes. Most juvenile misdemeanors cause little harm to others and are not necessarily indicative of a pattern on criminality.
When deciding whether to move a case to adult court or keep it in the juvenile court, they will consider a few factors, including:
Criminal history – If you have never been in trouble with the law before, your case is more likely to stay in the juvenile system.
Mental capacity – Your maturity level and decision-making capacity will be considered.
Nature of crime – Which crime you are charged with will affect how your case is treated. More serious crimes and crimes that caused significant harm to others are more likely to be sent to adult court.
Degree of fault – Children can easily be peer-pressured into doing something illegal, like trespassing or shoplifting. If you were simply going along with your friends, you are more likely to be treated as a juvenile.
Your attorney can use these factors to make a case for keeping you in juvenile court.
Call a DuPage County Juvenile Defense Attorney
If you are a juvenile facing criminal charges, Davi Law Group, LLC can help. Our skilled Wheaton juvenile defense lawyers will fight to keep your case out of adult court. Ask your parent or guardian to contact our law office at 630-580-6373 for a free consultation.