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Illinois Lawmakers Consider Trying Young Adults in Juvenile CourtMembers of the Illinois House of Representatives have proposed legislation that would allow young adults to be tried in juvenile court. The bill would amend the Illinois Child and Family Services Act to change the definition of a delinquent minor:

  • Starting in 2019, a delinquent minor would include anyone who committed a misdemeanor before the age of 19; and
  • Starting in 2021, the age limit would expand to anyone who committed a misdemeanor before the age of 21.

Judges would be allowed to decide whether defendants ages 18 to 20 should appear before an adult or juvenile court. The goal of the legislation is to reduce the recidivism rate of younger offenders who may be legal adults but are still maturing mentally.


Civil rights groups criticize the prison system for creating career criminals. Younger offenders are locked up with little concern for how they will start a new life upon their release. With limited job skills and a criminal record, some former convicts return to the criminal behavior that initially got them arrested. Going through the juvenile court system has many advantages because the goal is to rehabilitate the offender:

  • A juvenile court may be more lenient about the time an offender must serve;
  • The juvenile detention system provides more opportunities for education and job training; and
  • Juvenile records are easier to expunge than criminal records.


Some lawmakers and members of the criminal justice system are opposed to the potential law change. They argue that it is inappropriate to prosecute people who are legally adults as juveniles. The idea of treating a 20-year-old the same as a 14-year-old seems illogical. They believe that people who are old enough to vote or serve in the military should face adult consequences for criminal offenses. There is also a financial cost that would come with the change. Taking more young adults into the juvenile system would cost the state more money than if they were in adult prisons. It is more expensive to rehabilitate offenders than simply lock them up.

Second Chance

Research suggests that people’s brains continue to develop until they are 26. Thus, the thought process and maturity of people age 18 to 20 may be closer to that of a teenager than an adult. Young offenders deserve the chance to learn the life skills they will need to support themselves as adults. A DuPage County criminal defense attorney with Stephen A. Brundage, Attorney at Law, can get a young defendant’s charges eliminated or reduced. To schedule a consultation, call 630-260-9647.



Posted in Criminal Law, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, Juvenile Crimes, Juvenile Offenders | Tagged , , ,

Recording Police Officers Is Allowed, With Some LimitsVideo recordings of arrests can shed light on instances of police misconduct. A recording may show that the police officer’s account of the arrest was inaccurate or that the officer was overly aggressive with the suspect. The evidence may be enough to dismiss or reduce criminal charges. Police officers sometimes wear body cameras or have dashboard cameras in their vehicles. However, prosecutors will try to suppress video evidence that may hurt their argument. The defense can petition to obtain the video or present its own recording from the defendant or a third party. Illinois allows the public to record interactions with police officers, though there are circumstances in which it may be illegal.

Eavesdropping Law

Before a 2014 Illinois Supreme Court ruling, it was illegal to record a police officer during an arrest without his or her consent. After the law was deemed unconstitutional, Illinois lawmakers amended the section of the criminal code regarding eavesdropping. From the public’s perspective, the changes improved the eavesdropping law in a couple of ways:

  • In most circumstances, members of the public do not need the consent of police officers in order to legally record them interacting with the public; and
  • The penalty for a first-time offense of eavesdropping on a police officer was reduced from a class 2 felony to a class 3 felony.


There are two conditions in which prosecutors may criminally charge a member of the public for recording a police officer:

  • When the recording was made surreptitiously; or
  • When the police officer had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

A surreptitious recording means that the defendant secretly recorded the police officer. This creates a distinction between openly recording an officer without his or her consent and hiding the recording equipment in order to catch the officer off guard. A reasonable expectation of privacy is trickier to define because police officers are public servants when they are on the job. It may include recording police officers when they are having private conversations with each other.

Recording a Police Officer

Despite the change in the law, police officers may still threaten to arrest people who are legally recording their actions. To make sure you behave legally while recording:

  • Do not attempt to hide the fact that you are recording;
  • If confronted, calmly tell the police officer that you are not breaking the law; and
  • Do not obstruct the officer’s ability to do his or her job.

If police still arrest you for recording them, there will likely be no criminal charges as long as you did nothing else to disobey or disrupt them.

Video Evidence

If you or someone you know recorded your arrest, it is important that your lawyer gets a chance to see the recording. A DuPage County criminal defense attorney with Stephen A. Brundage, Attorney at Law, can determine whether the recording will help your case. Schedule an appointment by calling 630-260-9647.



Posted in Criminal Law, DuPage County criminal defense attorney, Illinois criminal defense lawyer | Tagged , , ,

Warrant Not Required When Hospital Initiates Toxicology TestA recent Illinois appellate court decision gained attention because it questioned the constitutionality of a state law that allows police to forcibly obtain a blood or urine sample after a person is arrested for driving under the influence. The court remanded a DUI conviction because police forced the defendant to provide samples without presenting a warrant, even though they had ample time to obtain one. The court stated that the Illinois law violates the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution because it allows police to conduct a warrantless search without needing to prove urgency. While it was a win for DUI defendants in the state, the decision applies only when specific circumstances occur. There are still scenarios where prosecutors can legally use results from blood or urine tests administered without a warrant.

Recent Example

In the case of People v. Sykes, the defendant was convicted on charges of driving under the influence of cannabis and child endangerment. The defendant had crashed her car into a wall after a day at the beach with her children. A responding police officer described her as smelling of alcohol and being disoriented. After she was taken to the hospital for examination, police arrested her on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. The defendant refused a police request to submit to a blood or urine test, and two police officers waited outside her room while she received further treatment. A doctor asked a nurse to obtain a urine sample to determine whether the woman had any intoxicating substances in her system that would explain her disoriented state. The woman refused to give a sample, and the nurse used a catheter to obtain it. The nurse requested the help of several people to hold the woman down while inserting the catheter, including the two police officers. The urine sample showed the woman had cannabis and PCP in her system. Prosecutors obtained the test results months later, which they used to add the DUI cannabis charge.

Key Differences

The defendant argued that the urine sample should not have been admissible in court because it was obtained without a warrant. Both the trial court and appellate court rejected the argument, stating several reasons why the fourth amendment did not apply:

  • The hospital, not the police, ordered the urine sample;
  • The woman was incapable of giving consent because of her mental state;
  • The hospital did not require her consent because the test was deemed medically necessary;
  • The police officers’ involvement in holding her still was not police action because the nurse asked for their help; and
  • Prosecutors can request and use results from medical tests that were not obtained with a warrant.

DUI Testing

Police cannot force you to submit to a warrantless toxicology test without proving an urgent need to forgo the warrant. A DuPage County criminal defense attorney with Stephen A. Brundage, Attorney at Law, will protect your rights during your DUI trial. To schedule an appointment, call 630-260-9647.



Posted in Criminal Law, DUI, DuPage County criminal defense attorney, Illinois criminal defense lawyer | Tagged , , , ,