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IL juvenile lawyerIn 1899, Illinois was the first state to do something that no other state had done before -- create a juvenile justice system. Prior to then, juveniles were tried in adult court and were treated as adults were. Illinois lawmakers realized that juveniles had different needs and abilities than adults did and that a separate court and justice system was necessary. The juvenile justice system emphasizes the importance of rehabilitating and protecting youth after they commit a crime -- not punishing them. The juvenile justice system also awards certain rights to both children and their parents or guardians when they are in trouble with the law. Many people may not know about these rights, but it is important that you exercise those rights if your child has gotten into trouble.

Rights of Juvenile Offenders

Every person is guaranteed certain rights by the United States Constitution, but juveniles have special, additional rights because they are a part of the juvenile justice system. Rights that juveniles have include:

  • Right to Remain Silent: Like all other American citizens, children who are arrested and interrogated by police have the right to remain silent. They must be notified of this right before any interrogation begins. This is known as the right against self-incrimination.
  • Right to Legal Representation: Another one of the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, children have a right to be represented by a lawyer during the criminal process. If you do not have the means to hire a private lawyer, a public defender who is knowledgeable about juvenile justice will be appointed to your child.
  • Right to Talk to a Parent or Guardian: Before your child submits to any questioning, they should inform the officer that they would like you to be present during questioning. Police must immediately try to contact you.
  • Right to Know the Charges Against Them: Police are required to tell your child what charges are being held against them and why police believe they committed a crime.

Rights of Parents

Parents also have rights when their child is arrested. These rights include:

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IL defense lawyerOne of the many things that are up to states’ discretion is the issuance and control of driver’s licenses. The age at which you can apply for your learner’s permit and then your driver’s license is different in each state. In some states, you get receive your learner’s permit at the age of 14 while in other states you must be at least 16. In Illinois, you must be 15 years old to apply for a learner’s permit and 16 to apply for a junior license. You must also meet certain requirements for training and experience before you will be granted either the learner’s permit or the license. Young people tend to make poor decisions sometimes, which is why they are subject to a few laws that are more strict than adult laws. Violations of traffic laws can lead to unfavorable consequences.

Underage Driving Laws

Court Supervision and Moving Violations: Drivers under the age of 21 are limited to one sentence of court supervision for serious traffic offenses. Drivers under the age of 21 are only eligible for court supervision if they attend traffic safety school, while drivers under the age of 18 must appear in court with a parent in addition to attending traffic safety school.

Moving Violations and Loss of Driving Privileges: Drivers under the age of 21 who are convicted of two or more moving violations within a 24-month period will have their driver’s license suspended for at least 30 days. Remedial education courses may be part of the requirement to get their driver’s license reinstated.

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