How Long Can a Juvenile Be Detained Without a Hearing?

Posted on Friday, December 1st, 2023 at 9:00 am    

How Long Can a Juvenile Be Detained Without a Hearing

The juvenile criminal justice system differs from the adult criminal justice system. Navigating the juvenile criminal justice system can be challenging for parents, especially if they don’t understand the legal rights of minors and how they get treated when detained. What is a detention hearing? Do juveniles get bail? What can your child expect if arrested or charged with a criminal offense?

At Bruno Law Offices, we know you have questions as a parent. On the top of your mind may be how long a juvenile can be detained without a hearing. Our elite criminal justice attorneys can help you understand the Illinois juvenile justice system and answer your questions about the legal process for minors.

How Long Can a Juvenile Be Detained Without a Hearing?

In Illinois, a juvenile offender is an individual who has broken the law while under the age of 18. Most juvenile offenders are tried or face consequences within the juvenile court system. However, minors accused of significant or violent crimes such as murder or sexual assault may be transferred to the Illinois criminal court system and tried as adults.

Typically, minors under 12 can only be detained without a hearing for six hours by law enforcement. Minors between 12 and 16 can be held for at least 12 hours if detained for a non-violent crime and up to 24 hours if accused of a violent criminal offense.

Can a Juvenile Be Questioned Without a Parent or Legal Guardian?

Yes. Although parents of children accused of a criminal offense may think it’s unfair, in many cases, law enforcement officials can question a minor without a parent or legal guardian present if the officials make a reasonable attempt to contact the parent. Additionally, officers can immediately question a juvenile before the parent or guardian arrives. However, when questioning takes place, a dedicated youth officer must be present. A youth officer is a law enforcement official who steps in as a responsible adult and is supposed to look out for the minor’s best interests.

Like adults, juveniles have legal rights. However, most minors in intense and stressful situations don’t understand what’s happening around them and may be afraid of not appearing cooperative to authorities. Even under the best circumstances, most young people do not know their legal rights following an arrest. In Illinois, juveniles are considered “protected persons,” which means that law enforcement officials cannot use deceptive techniques to get a minor to talk or admit to a crime.

Parents should also know that, in most cases, officers do not need to provide legal counsel to the minor before questioning. They also do not need to wait until a lawyer is present to question a juvenile about their actions or potentially illegal behavior. The exceptions to the rule involve cases of homicide or sexual assault. A lawyer must be present for questioning when a minor under 15 faces charges of murder or sexual assault.

What Happens Once a Juvenile Is Charged?

How Long Can a Juvenile Be Detained Without a Hearing

In Illinois, when a minor gets charged with violating the law, one of two things can happen depending on the circumstances of the crime. If the juvenile faces a minor offense, they may be released to the care of a parent or legal guardian. In cases involving more significant crimes, the juvenile may be held in a detention facility until their case gets resolved by the court system. Many areas have separate juvenile facilities for minor offenders 17 and younger. However, in smaller communities, a juvenile can be detained in an adult facility if there is a sight and sound barrier between adult and juvenile detainees.

If the minor must be held in custody, a detention hearing must occur within 40 hours. A judge reviews the case and determines if there is enough probable cause to believe the minor committed a criminal offense. With probable cause, the judge can move forward with the detention hearing and decide whether to release the juvenile to their parents or continue to hold them in custody pending a trial.

At trial, just like in an adult court, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the juvenile violated the law. However, unlike the adult criminal justice system, juveniles do not have the right to a jury trial. Their fate typically rests in the hands of the judge, meaning it is vital that you secure responsive legal representation for your child as soon as possible.

Contact an Experienced Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer Now

If your child gets caught up in the Illinois juvenile justice system, you need the help an experienced criminal defense attorney can provide. The juvenile justice system is not something to be taken lightly. Consequences of a conviction can lead to significant repercussions for a minor and impact their future opportunities. Your family needs help. The defense team at Bruno Law Offices is here for you. Call our Illinois office now at (217) 328-6000 to arrange a confidential legal consultation.