Facing a criminal charge can be a frightening experience for anyone, regardless of age. For juveniles and their parents or guardians, receiving a criminal charge at a young age can have resounding future impacts. Legalities regarding juvenile crimes are complex, which can create even more confusion and stress for those in such circumstances. Lawmakers in Illinois are currently pushing legislation that could potentially increase the ages for those who are tried as juveniles.
Currently in Illinois, laws state that anyone 18 years of age or older are tried as an adult. In certain circumstances, some defendants under the age of 18 can even be charged as adults. However, the new legislation may allow young adults to be tried as juveniles.
Under this new law, those who are 18, 19 or even 20 years of age could be considered juveniles when charged with certain crimes such as misdemeanors or other minor infractions. One current Illinois state representative in favor of the new legislation argues that a person's brain is not fully developed until age 26. According to this representative, the end goal is for this age group to learn from their mistakes instead of punishing them for the rest of their lives.
In Illinois, juveniles who receive a criminal charge could significantly benefit from seeking legal counsel. An attorney can thoroughly review the case and determine the best possible strategy for those facing juvenile crimes. Acquiring the services of an experienced attorney also can increase one's odds of achieving the best possible outcome, including the chance for one's charges to be dropped altogether.
Source: ilnews.org, "Illinois lawmakers push to allow 18, 19, and 20-year-olds to be tried as juveniles", Cole Lauterbach, March 7, 2018