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What Are a Juvenile’s Rights After Being Arrested in Illinois?

Posted on in Criminal Law

What Are a Juvenile’s Rights After Being Arrested in Illinois?When a juvenile in Illinois is accused of committing a crime, they often face a different justice system than adults. The Illinois Juvenile Justice System calls juveniles “delinquent minors” instead of criminals. The juvenile court places greater importance on rehabilitating the juvenile than punishing them. It is easier to expunge a juvenile’s arrest and criminal records than it is for adults. Knowing all of this, your child is better off in a juvenile court than an adult criminal court if they are arrested. How does Illinois determine whether a case belongs in juvenile court? What are a juvenile’s rights during the arrest? These are important things to know if your child has been charged with a crime.

Juvenile Court Requirements

The age of the defendant and the nature of the criminal charge will decide whether a person is tried as a juvenile or an adult. In Illinois, a defendant is tried as a juvenile if:

  • They are 17 or younger and were charged with a misdemeanor
  • They are 16 or younger and were charged with a felony

Illinois will use the age the defendant was when they allegedly committed the offense, not their age at the time of the trial. Once a case has been heard in juvenile court, the court can continue jurisdiction over the case until the defendant is 21.

Police Questioning

Police must make a reasonable attempt to immediately contact a juvenile’s parents after an arrest but do not have to wait for a parent to arrive before they start questioning the child. However, the statements that the juvenile gives during questioning will be inadmissible in court if the police do not follow strict requirements:

  • A juvenile officer must be present during the questioning.
  • The questioning must be recorded if the juvenile is suspected of a misdemeanor offense.
  • The officer must recite the Miranda warning to the juvenile before asking questions.
  • The officer must ask the juvenile whether they want to speak and whether they would like a lawyer.


Police are allowed to detain a juvenile suspect age 12 to 16 for a maximum of 12 hours, but the detainment period may be extended to 24 hours if the juvenile is accused of a violent crime. Juveniles younger than 12 may not be detained for more than six hours. In most cases, the juvenile will be released into the custody of their parents. If the Juvenile Justice System decides to pursue charges, they must hold a detention hearing within 40 hours to determine whether the juvenile can remain with their parents or must be held in a detention facility until their trial.

Contact a Crystal Lake, Illinois, Criminal Defense Attorney

A juvenile arrest is frightening for both the parents and the child but does not have to result in long-lasting consequences. A McHenry County criminal defense lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, will make sure that your child is treated fairly throughout the process. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.



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