Orland Park Juvenile Criminal Lawyer

Defending Minors Against Criminal Charges

Beginning January 1, 2010, a new Illinois law took effect making age 18 the cutoff between adult court and juvenile court for youths charged with misdemeanors, like retail theft, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, text messaging sexually explicit material, criminal damage to property, battery and other criminal offenses.

The Illinois Juvenile Court Act exists to provide for the care and the guidance that will serve the safety and moral, emotional, mental, and physical welfare of the minor child and the best interests of the community; to preserve and strengthen the minor's family ties whenever possible, removing him or her from the custody of his/her parents and terminating parental rights only when the safety of the juvenile or welfare or the protection of the public cannot be adequately safeguarded without removal of the minor.

In doing so, it protects the identity of minor by closing the proceedings to the public. Upon completion of the proceedings, the youth offender will not have a permanent record available to the public thereby giving him/her the opportunity to reach his/her full potential.

An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Is Necessary In Juvenile Court

A minor child accused of a crime which is categorized as a misdemeanor crime or felony crime, in a juvenile complaint will be brought before a judge within 24 hours of being detained by the police. By law, juveniles must be represented by an attorney. Parents of juvenile justice offenders are required to appear in court, as well.

At the first court appearance, the judge will determine whether the child will be held in the juvenile detention center or foster facility while the case is pending before the court, or whether the child will be released to his parents or guardians while the case proceeds. If the Judge rules that the child is to be held in custody, there is no option to pay a bond to get your child released. That is why it is so important to have an experienced juvenile justice attorney such as James A. Payonk, Jr. at the first court appearance.

The Minor Must Be Proven Guilty Beyond A Reasonable Doubt

After the initial court appearance, the next part of the case is the same as any criminal case. The State has the burden of proving the minor guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the charges placed against the minor. An experienced criminal defense attorney will give you the best chance of success. We have tried hundreds of cases and won the dismissal of charges on behalf of our clients. We know how to aggressively defend all criminal charges, how to cross examine witnesses, present favorable evidence that will help the minor, and present the best arguments to the judge. If the juvenile court finds that the minor defendant is not guilty of the crime alleged, the court will order the petition dismissed and the minor discharged from any detention or restriction previously ordered in the juvenile proceeding.

If the court finds that the minor is guilty of the offense alleged by the State, depending on the charge, the minor could be sentenced to confinement in a juvenile justice facility until the minor reaches age 18, or could be sentenced in numerous other ways.

If your child has been charged with or arrested for a crime, or you are contacted by police to investigate a possible crime, it is important to have an experienced, knowledgeable juvenile justice attorney and criminal attorney working for you and your child. Contact James A. Payonk, Jr., P.C. for a free consultation to discuss defending your child. Call us at 708-633-6005. We have helped numerous families in the southwest suburbs of Cook County and Will County fight charges against minors. We are experienced Orland Park Criminal Defense attorneys, who will work aggressively to defend you and your child.

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James A. Payonk, Jr.

~ Attorney at Law ~

10705 W 159th St.
Orland Park, Illinois 60467

(708) 633-6005