Illinois Juvenile Law - Five Things to Know If Your Teenager Is Arrested

joliet juvenile lawyer

When Illinois police arrest a minor under 18 years old, they follow the procedures of the Illinois juvenile justice system rather than the law enforcement and judicial procedures defined for adults. Here are five things you need to know about Illinois juvenile delinquency law if your preteen or teenager is arrested.

1. When a minor is arrested in Illinois, both child and parent have special legal rights. For example, the minor has a right to talk to their parents prior to questioning and to have their parents present during questioning; likewise, the parents have the right to be with their child. Overall, a child has the same constitutional rights as an adult plus additional protections afforded to minors.

2. When any law enforcement officer arrests a minor without a warrant, they must take the minor to the nearest specially-trained juvenile police officer.

3. Illinois law authorizes juvenile police officers to handle juvenile offenses through immediate intervention procedures. The officer may issue an informal station adjustment which places conditions on the juvenile such as a curfew, staying away from certain people or places, or performing up to 25 hours of community service. A formal station adjustment requires both the juvenile and their parent to sign an agreement in which the juvenile admits their offense and agrees to comply with conditions such as payment of restitution, reporting to a police officer at designated times, or performing up to 25 hours of community service. If the minor or their parent refuses a formal station adjustment, the matter will be referred to juvenile court.

4. The police cannot hold a child age 12 to 17 at a local police station for more than 24 hours; for a child under age 12, the time limit is six hours.

5. Different terminology and procedures are followed in juvenile court than in adult court. One difference is that juveniles are entitled only to a bench trial, not a jury trial. Another difference is that juveniles are not convicted of a crime but rather are “adjudicated delinquent.”

Will County Juvenile Defense Lawyer

If your minor child has been picked up by the police, only a qualified Will County juvenile defense lawyer can properly advise you about your child’s rights and your rights as a parent. To protect your child from getting entangled in the Illinois juvenile justice system for years, call the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025. Our initial consultation is free, and we respond to calls at all hours.