The Juvenile Delinquency Division at the LaSalle County State's Attorney's office is responsible for prosecuting defendants who are younger than 18 years old when the alleged crime was committed.

Delinquency cases are initiated through a referral or by arrest and detention. When a minor is taken into custody, a detention hearing must be held within 40 hours - excluding court holidays and weekends - to determine whether the minor shall remain in custody. If a judge finds probable cause and an immediate and urgent necessity to protect the minor or the community, the court may order further detention. Otherwise, the court may release the minor to home detention or to the custody of a parent or guardian.

When a minor is not taken into custody, the case is referred to LaSalle County Juvenile Court Services/Probation. From there it could be diverted through Juvenile Court Services or be sent to the Juvenile Delinquency Division of the LaSalle County State's Attorney's Office for prosecution.

A juvenile who has a delinquency petition filed against him or her and is found guilty of a crime can be adjudicated delinquent and can be sentenced to supervision or probation. A juvenile also may be sentenced to up to 30 days in jail or committed to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice until his or her 21st birthday. In serious cases, such as murder or attempted murder, a juvenile could be transferred to adult court and be subject to the same penalties as an adult. Juvenile court hearings are closed to the general public.

What Else Do You Need to Know

  • A juvenile is classified as someone who is younger than age 18 at the time of the alleged crime.
  • A parent must be present with the minor in court on every court date. This is true even when the case progresses past the minor’s 18th birthday.
  • A minor in court must be represented by an attorney.
  • Parents are named on the petitions as “parties” and must be served, even if one parent has not had contact with the minor.
  • Most jailed juvenile offenders are held in the LaSalle County Juvenile Detention Center.
  • Only family members are allowed to visit juvenile offenders. For visitation hours and days, call the Juvenile Detention Center at 815-434-8204.
  • Depending on the severity of the crime, the age of the defendant, and the age of the victim, some cases are automatically transferred to adult court.
  • The law allows the state’s attorney to ask the court to transfer certain juvenile defendants to adult court. If such a request is made, the judge will set a date to hear arguments and then decide whether the juvenile will be transferred to adult court.
  • A juvenile offender who is found guilty of a crime can be sentenced to supervision, probation, up to 30 days in jail, or imprisonment in the Illinois Department of Corrections Juvenile Division until his or her 21st birthday.
  • Only parties to the case are allowed access to information on the case because of confidentiality rules.
  • Although they are not prohibited from doing so, the media generally does not report the names of juvenile offenders. However, there are exceptions, which vary depending on the newspaper, radio station, or television station, and the severity of the crime. The courts and the state's attorney's office have no influence over what a media outlet chooses to report.
  • Juvenile court records are not open to the media. However, the juvenile courtrooms are open to the media.
  • Juvenile defendants can remain in the court system as a juvenile up to their 21st birthday.