Juvenile Offenses

Criminal Defense Attorney - Juvenile Delinquency Cases

The lawyers at our criminal defense firm are experienced in representing juveniles in delinquency proceedings and know how serious an adjudication of delinquency can be. Even more serious is the transfer of a juvenile case to adult court, where a criminal conviction can follow a young person throughout his or her life. Our attorneys will make every effort to keep legal proceedings against a minor child in juvenile court to mitigate the consequences of youthful misbehavior. If your child has been accused in a juvenile delinquency petition, contact an experienced juvenile delinquency defense attorney at Zuelke Law Firm. We will immediately begin working with you to protect the rights of your child.

What are Juvenile Crimes?

A criminal offense is usually charged in juvenile court in Illinois if the person is under 17 years old. A child who has been "adjudicated as a delinquent minor" will not have a permanent criminal record, but can be sentenced by the court to many of the same sanctions as an adult who is convicted of a crime. A Juvenile Court judge can sentence a minor to supervision or probation with various conditions, or can sentence a child to serve time in the Youth Home or even the Juvenile Department of Corrections.

Some serious offenses, such as first degree murder and aggravated criminal sexual assault, certain drug offenses and certain offenses committed with a firearm can automatically be charged in adult court if the minor is as young as 15. In some instances, a child as young as 13 can be charged with first degree murder as an adult. The laws in Illinois have continued to get worse for juveniles and have brought an increasing number of children into the adult criminal justice system.

While any juvenile crime can result in a charge of juvenile delinquency, our juvenile crime lawyers know that juvenile offenses tend to be:

  • Property crimes such as vandalism, graffiti, shoplifting, auto theft, burglary, felony damage to property;
  • Assault and battery, including aggravated assault and battery involving a weapon;
  • Drug crimes, including possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver, manufacture, cultivation, and trafficking; and
  • Weapons charges, such as illegal possession of a handgun, and use of a knife in the commission of another crime.

The Benefits of an Experienced Juvenile Delinquency Lawyer

Illinois juvenile delinquency law is constantly changing. The number of offenses that can be tried in adult court is expanding. Our skilled defense attorneys know that it is critical to keep children out of adult court and in the juvenile justice system. More so than in adult court, the juvenile court system is designed to help young people rather than punish them. That is why our juvenile delinquency attorneys will work to keep your child's case in juvenile court. The Juvenile Court system can provide assistance and programs targeted toward young people to help juveniles get back on track and go on with their lives. This kind of help is generally not available to the same degree in the adult justice system. If your child has been charged in a juvenile delinquency petition as a result of the alleged commission of a crime, call a skilled criminal defense lawyer. Contact an attorney at our firm who understands the special criminal defense needs of young people.