Juvenile Court

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Waukegan Juvenile Court Defense Lawyer

Criminal matters involving minors are dealt with separately from the adult system. This is because the law recognizes that children’s maturing minds are not capable of comprehending the true extent of their actions and potential repercussions in the same way that an adult is. As a result, penalties for juvenile offenders tend to focus more on rehabilitation than punishment. It also requires a unique understanding of how the juvenile criminal justice system works.

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At The Law Offices of Richard S. Kopsick, our IL juvenile law lawyers actively defend minors charged with crimes in the juvenile court system.  We provide juvenile criminal defense for all types of juvenile charges, including:

  • Probation violations
  • Weapons violations
  • Drug crimes (drug possession, drug distribution, etc.)
  • DUIs (Driving Under the Influence)
  • MIPs (Minor in Possession)
  • Theft crimes (retail theft or shoplifting, robbery, burglary, etc.)
  • Violent crimes (assault and battery, first or second degree murder, manslaughter, etc.)
  • Sex crimes (sexual assault, rape, sexual exploitation of another minor, etc.)
  • Domestic violence (dating violence)
  • Expungements

Whatever your child has been charged with, Waukegan juvenile defense lawyer Richard Kopsick and his team of top trial lawyers in Illinois are prepared to handle the case with compassion and dedication. Don’t let a careless mistake ruin your child’s future – call Kopsick today at 847-623-8700.

What are Juvenile Rights?

Juvenile offenders are afforded the same rights and liberties as adults under both the United States Constitution and the Illinois Constitution. As a result, a juvenile has the same right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, as well as the right to remain silent. If a child is arrested or held for interrogation, they may (and should) utilize their Fifth Amendment right to decline any inquiry and to have an attorney or legal guardian present throughout custodial interrogation.

Police also must make a reasonable effort to notify a parent or legal guardian if a minor is detained or arrested. Even if an adolescent is being questioned for a crime they witnessed but did not participate in, this law would still apply. A child might not have the freedom to leave the custody of the police in this situation, but they do have the right to be accompanied by an attorney, guardian, or both.

What Are Parents’ Rights?

As a parent or guardian of a minor, you have rights, as well. These include:

  1. The right to be there with your child when he or she is being interrogated;
  2. The right to know why he or she was detained or arrested; and
  3. The right to have a lawyer present when your child is being questioned.

It is critical not to overreact or respond in hostility if your kid is arrested or held in police custody. Try to keep as calm as possible and respectfully insist on being there with your minor throughout the interrogation at the police station. If at all feasible, you should speak with a juvenile justice attorney as soon as possible.

The Arrest of a Juvenile

When a minor is apprehended in Illinois, the arresting officer is required by law to deliver them to an officer who has been trained and qualified in juvenile arrestee treatment. Contingent on the adolescent and the alleged offense, a variety of scenarios might arise following his or her arrest. For example, the police have the option of charging the child or placing him or her in a diversion program, known as a “station adjustment.”

What is a Station Adjustment in Juvenile Law?

This station adjustment is a strategy of avoiding a trial and the need to formally prosecute a minor with a criminal offense. Though they are not considered convictions, they may still appear on the juvenile’s arrest records. In some situations, the authorities will return the youngster to a legal guardian, but not before imposing strict curfews, banning them from interacting with certain people, demanding alcohol or substance therapy (if the arrest was attributable to either), or ordering the juvenile to perform community service. The duration of any of these punishments cannot exceed 120 days. If the adolescent performs a further infraction during this time, the sentence can be lengthened beyond 120 days, but not beyond 180 days.

Types of Station Adjustments for Juvenile Offenders

There are two types of station adjustments: formal and informal adjustments. In the event authorities perform a formal arrest of a minor, there will be an initial screening to decide whether to detain or release them to their legal guardian(s). They must be given a detention hearing within 40 hours of the arrest and in the presence of a judge to establish if they will remain in juvenile detention or be released.In order to receive a formal station modification, the minor must acknowledge his or her fault.

When an officer believes there is probable cause to believe the minor in question committed the offense, they may give them an informal station modification. However, the juvenile detainee is not required to confess culpability of the offense in order to receive an informal station modification. A minor cannot obtain more than 3 misdemeanor or felony informal station adjustments within 3 years, with no more than 5 total informal station adjustments allowed during his or her minority.

What is a Juvenile Delinquency Petition?

If a juvenile is charged, all legal issues are transferred over to the state’s attorney. They then decide whether to pursue the charges formally or informally for juvenile delinquency. If the state’s attorney decides to take formal action, a delinquency petition will be filed and a court hearing required. This petition would be the official charging document that lays out the charges against the minor.

Provided the State Attorney’s Office chooses to continue informally, it signifies that the state has opted to not pursue formal charges and the legal issue may be dropped if the minor agrees to the specified terms of the station adjustment criteria.

Pre-Trial and Adjudication Hearings Explained

In the event that a matter goes to trial, the young person will be given an “adjudication hearing.” In an adult court of law, an adjudication hearing is equivalent to a trial. Because young individuals do not have the right to trial by jury, a good number of cases in the juvenile court system are bench trials, meaning they are ruled only by a judge.

A judge will oversee the evidence during the hearing or trial, the prosecution will attempt to show the claims opposing the suspect, and the juvenile criminal defense attorney would then have the chance to present a rebuttal. The State, much like in the adult criminal justice system, has the responsibility of establishing the juvenile’s culpability “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This means that the adolescent would be judged without guilt if the court has any doubts about whether or not they committed the offense. Minors will be termed “adjudicated delinquent” if they actually convicted the alleged juvenile offenses. This is another way of saying “found guilty.”

Sentencing of a Juvenile in Illinois

The matter moves to a sentence review after an adjudication hearing or a negotiated guilty plea. A pre-sentence inquiry may be ordered prior to the sentencing hearing in juvenile courts. This study looks into a juvenile’s past in order to help the juvenile court decide on a suitable sentencing. Family history, mental and physical health evaluations, social/behavioral patterns, and a criminal background check are all included in the assessment.

When the judge is ready to sentence the minor, they may do one of the following:


Supervision is a type of deferred prosecution in the juvenile law system. This is typically given to offenders with little to no prior criminal history and is used as a mechanism for the court to keep an eye on the kid without putting a conviction on their record. The adolescent will not be declared delinquent if he or she fulfills the supervision terms. It’s important to note that not all offenses are qualified for monitoring.


If a juvenile is released on probation, they will be released from detention and therefore must adhere to all probationary requirements. Probation is approximately 12 and 24 months (1-2 years) long and counts as a conviction, which means it will appear on the minors records. Community service, psychological health or substance abuse therapy, random drug testing, reparations for damage to property, curfew restrictions, and mandates to avoid gang member interaction are among the most prevalent stipulations. The minor will also be expected to report to and sustain continued communication with a probation officer in addition to these requirements.

Intensive Probation Supervision (IPS) 

IPS is comparable to probation, but has stricter rules, including more frequent reports to a probation officer, harsher curfews, regular drug testing, and/or electronic monitoring.

Conditional Discharge 

Conditional discharge is akin to probation in that it permits the offender to follow the terms of his or her punishment without having to report to a probation officer.

Residential Treatment Centers 

If a minor is ordered to a residential treatment facility, he or she may be placed in either an outpatient or inpatient facility. The adolescent can reside at home if they attend an outpatient program, whereas an inpatient center requires them to remain at the facility site. The child will receive regular mental health therapy and, if appropriate, drug addiction therapy at the institution.

Juvenile Detention and Juvenile Prisons 

A juvenile can be sentenced to detention if the crime is much more serious or if they are a frequent repeat offender. The juvenile correctional facility is generally located in the same jurisdiction as the minor. The court has the authority to sentence the minor to up to 30 days in juvenile detention.

Juvenile prisons in Illinois, also recognized as Illinois Youth Centers, are for those who are sentenced to incarceration for a longer period of time. There are eight facilities in Illinois, each with different security measures (minimal, moderate, or highest). The duration of the sentence imposed by the court is determined by the severity of the offense and the juvenile’s previous convictions.

Juvenile Record Expungement Attorney in Illinois

The punishment and conviction of a minor will appear on their juvenile criminal record after they are sentenced. Even if the child is deemed not guilty or the case was dismissed or charges dropped, the initial arrest will exist on their file. Fortunately, removing offenses from a juvenile’s record is relatively easy for an experienced juvenile expungement attorney like Richard S. Kopsick. 

This means the minor can have the offense expunged from their record in most cases. If the offense was a felony or a Class A misdemeanor, the adolescent could erase the record (1) after they turn 21, or (2) after the probation or parole’s conditions are fulfilled and no adult offenses have been perpetrated during that time.

Lake County Criminal Defense Lawyer for Juvenile Offenders

Alleviating potential punishment, retaining your kid’s clean record, and decreasing the likelihood that your adolescent will commit further offenses are all important aspects of a successful juvenile defense. At The Law Offices of Richard S. Kopsick, our Waukegan criminal defense lawyers will fight for your child with vigor. Richard Kopsick, a juvenile defense attorney, works every legal angle he has to ensure your child gets the best outcome possible, whether that’s through a case dismissal, negotiating a plea agreement, expunging a criminal record, avoiding possible imprisonment, or, where appropriate, exploring alternatives such as community service, probation, and diversion programs.

Contact Top Waukegan Juvenile Law Attorney Richard S. Kopsick Today

Children and teens often make mistakes, but they shouldn’t have to bear the consequences for their entire life. Youthful blunders may either stay in the past and be forgotten, or they could devastate their future. Hiring an experienced and qualified Lake County juvenile defense lawyer who knows what it takes to navigate criminal law and the Illinois juvenile justice system is an excellent approach to ensuring that your child reaches the best possible resolution to their case.

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Call the Waukegan Criminal Defense Attorneys at The Law Offices of Richard S. Kopsick Today

Regardless of how incriminating the case is against you or how dire your situation seems to be, Richard S. Kopsick and his team of skilled Waukegan criminal defense lawyers will work tirelessly to preserve your rights. Kopsick employ’s his vast knowledge and legal resources to lessen your charges or otherwise achieve the best possible result at all times. To get in touch with our top Lake County criminal attorney at The Law Offices of Richard S. Kopsick, call 847-623-8700 today.