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How Are Juvenile DUI Offenses Handled In Illinois?

The way juvenile DUI offenses are handled really depends on how they are charged, because first of all, you can get a DUI when you are 16 years old and you have a driver’s license. You can actually get one before that. They can also charge you, instead of with driving under the influence, with minor under the influence of alcohol. It is essentially the same as a DUI, but it’s not treated as harshly. However, prosecutors are going to look at it, and it doesn’t stop you from getting court supervision when you get one as an adult. Every prosecutor is going to look at it and say, “Oh, you had one of these as a minor.” There are some less serious steps they can take, but if the individual is 16, they are fully eligible to get just the same punishments as you would as an adult.

You’re behind the wheel like everyone else, and you’re supposed to follow the rules of the road like everyone else. Most likely, if they are considering giving you court supervision with no criminal record; they give them supervised supervision, which is in effect probation. There is a real probation officer, and you’re going to be reporting to the DUI unit. They can also get a conviction, and get their privileges taken away. If you were charged with this as a juvenile, they’re not going to give you a license for a long time. If you got one before, you would most likely not be eligible for a license until you’re at least 18, and probably not until you’re 21.

They can deal with it just like an adult, or they can give you some different treatment. It’s the same charge, instead you just have it as a kid, and they don’t give you the same ramifications. It’s on there, they can suspend you temporarily, but it’s not treated as harshly as having a full-on DUI. That’s ultimately at the discretion of the prosecutor, if they want to charge you as an adult or they want to charge you as a child.

Can Juveniles Be Paroled From The Juvenile Detention Centers?

You could be paroled from the Juvenile Department of Corrections. The Juvenile Department of Corrections can release them at whatever time they want. Say you were sentenced with kind of an open ticket at Juvenile Department of Corrections. They have the ability to release you on parole or release you completely, when they think you’ve done enough. But they don’t review cases and reduce the charges, or anything else like that. Whatever charge you get, you’re stuck with. Overall, since you’re a minor, it shouldn’t make any difference because it’s going to be sealed. Even if you’re 18 years old, and you’re still in detention, it’s still going to be sealed, and no one should be able to see it.

They don’t revisit charges after a couple of years and consider dropping the charges. For example, if a juvenile gets a 20-year sentence at age 16, he can’t go to adult prison until he’s 18. Once he’s 18, he’s going to adult for this, as he’s no longer a juvenile. Corrections is not trying to help him in any way, even though people at Juvenile Department of Corrections are still trying to help. When you’re 18, you’re automatically transferred to adult prison.

Do People Generally Try To Avoid Hiring An Attorney If Their Child Has Been Charged With Minor Offenses?

Juvenile court is a giant pain for defendants and their families. If you go out there at 9:00 for a case, you’re going to be sitting there until 11:30. You can’t afford to do it cheaply, because you’re going to get taken advantage of. They do have public defenders, who do a reasonable job, and usually it’s going to come down to what the judge wants to do. In most cases you’re not going to have some super trial—you might, but it’s very unusual. Juvenile cases that go to trial are expensive cases. Many times, parents leave their children to a public defender, thinking that their child has made one too many mistakes, and is now on their own. You will get decent representation from a public defender, but we like to think we can do a little better job. It depends on how complicated the case is, and which public defender you’re assigned to.

It seems like most parents aren’t willing to foot the bill for an expensive juvenile case. Many kids that get in trouble only have one parent, or they’re living in poverty. They join gangs because they are young, they have nowhere else to go, or that’s what they turn to, and people just don’t have money to hire a private attorney. You should get a fair share of them, but that’s when you are fortunate enough to have parents that care, and have the ability to pay. Unfortunately, the demographics of many juveniles who get in trouble—not all, because people from all walks of life get in trouble—but more clients who are getting arrested for crimes as juveniles seem to be from poorer neighborhoods. Maybe its because there’s less discipline, there’s less parental control, or there’s less parents around, which it just makes it easier for kids to get in trouble, and there are more cops around because it’s a higher crime area.

Why Is It Necessary To Have An Attorney Even If Someone Wants To Plead Guilty To A Juvenile Case?

First of all, in juvenile court, you don’t plead guilty. You enter an admission to the petition. But sometimes, the private attorney will take the time to explain things better, because they’re getting paid for that one individual case. They’ll spend more time with the juvenile, and they can prepare better a presentation at the sentencing. I don’t know if it’s necessarily going to make a huge difference to a judge here. If somebody was shot, they may not care what kind of sentencing you put on. They’ve decided in their mind what they think is appropriate, and that’s what they’re going to do. The probation department gets involved, and they make a pretty thorough recommendation of what they should do with the child. Most of these judges are happy to defer it to the probation department.

If they’re particularly upset at the kid, they might say that they think probation is being too lenient on them. The same probation officer stands in front of the same judges, week-in and week-out. Usually, they get a feel for if they’re on the same page as the judge all the time. I like to think that a flowery speech from an attorney is going to make a huge difference. I am not sure if it does in a lot of cases, because the judge has already decided what they want to do, based on what the probation officer wrote. Overall, it’s a very unique kind of individual question that is taken on a case-by-case basis.

For more information on Juvenile DUI Offenses In Illinois, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (847) 244-4636 today.

Barry Boches, Esq.

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