Attorney for Lake County Illinois Juvenile Delinquency Court

The HoffmanLaw Office defends juveniles charged with misdemeanor and felony criminal offenses in juvenile delinquency proceedings at the Lake County Juvenile Justice Complex in Vernon Hills, Illinois.

We have many years' experience defending clients under 18 years of age in Lake County juvenile delinquency court. We understand the unique issues that arise in juvenile delinquency cases.

A HoffmanLaw juvenile court criminal defense lawyer approaches juvenile cases not only with compassion and understanding for our juvenile clients, but also with a goal of moving toward an efficient and effective resolution of the charges they face.

The HoffmanLaw office has a very high degree of experience with Lake County juvenile court cases.

Juvenile Court is Far More than a "Child Version" of Adult Court

From many years of experience, we know the issues that arise in juvenile court often differ significantly than those in adult criminal court.

The meaningful and effective criminal defense of juvenile cases requires an additional knowledge base compared to the criminal defense of adult proceedings.

We believe it's critical your child's attorney knows these differences and is familiar with how juvenile court actually works. We know our knowledge and experience leads to better resolutions of juvenile delinquency cases for those accused of crimes.

The HoffmanLaw Office has worked in the Lake County juvenile court system since 2001. That makes for nearly 18 years of Lake County juvenile court experience.

Attorney Matt Hoffman of the HoffmanLaw Office has significant past experience as a Lake County juvenile court prosecutor.

Previously, as a Lake County Assistant State's Attorney, Matt spent almost two full years prosecuting juvenile delinquency cases at the juvenile courthouse in Vernon Hills.

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Matt is a former recipient of the Lake County Juvenile Justice Award. He personally handles every juvenile delinquency case the HoffmanLaw Office defends.

Working Toward Positive Outcomes in Lake County Juvenile Court

If you're the parent or legal guardian of a child now being prosecuted at the Lake County juvenile justice complex in Vernon Hills, under the law your child is required to have an attorney.

The HoffmanLaw Office can be that attorney. We can do that job. We can work toward bringing a positive resolution to you child's Lake County juvenile court case.

When we defend a child, or a young woman or man in juvenile court, we endeavor to achieve results that help our client learn from the experience, make necessary changes in their decisions and choices, and move on from juvenile court expecting and demanding better things from him or herself.


There are a some basic rules governing Lake County juvenile court proceedings, the discussion of which can help put into perspective the scope and purpose of Lake County juvenile delinquency court.

The HoffmanLaw Office has many years of familiarity with these rules and procedures, along with many years' experience working effectively within them.

As your child's attorney, we'll work within the rules of juvenile court. Where we seek to differentiate ourselves, and to excel as legal advocates, is by working extremely effectively within these rules to achieve great outcomes for our juvenile court clients.

Your child's Lake County juvenile delinquency proceeding is instituted under the authority of the Illinois Juvenile Court Act of 1987. This Act contains the laws governing Illinois juvenile court proceedings.

A very basic requirement of the Act is that anyone charged with a crime in juvenile court is required to have an attorney. The relevant law specifically states your child is not allowed to waive, or give up, his or her right to an attorney.

Since a child defending a juvenile court proceeding cannot waive his or her right to a lawyer, that child is required to have a lawyer throughout the entire juvenile court process.

The criminal charges against someone alleged to be a juvenile delinquent will be written out in a document titled a "Petition for Adjudication of Wardship."

As the parent or guardian of a minor now facing a formal juvenile delinquency prosecution in the Lake County court system, you may have received a copy of this document. This "Petition" lists the criminal offense or offenses of which the minor is accused and the accusations the prosecution would attempt to prove in court.

This "Petition" lists the classification, or levels of the offenses. The "Petition" also will request that the minor be adjudged or adjudicated a "ward of the court."

A "ward of the court" in a delinquency case is a minor who has been adjudged to be delinquent and therefore becomes subject to the "dispositional powers" of the court.

Under Illinois Law, a "minor" is anyone under the age of 21.

A minor alleged to be a "delinquent minor" is anyone under the age of 18 who has been charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense under the laws of the State of Illinois.

Minors charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense under Illinois State law in Lake County can find themselves the subjects of juvenile delinquency proceedings at the Lake County Juvenile Justice Complex in Vernon Hills.


lake county il juvenile court rules

Under the Age of 18

Illinois law states that a "delinquent minor" is someone under the age of 18 who is charged with a crime.

Petition for Adjudication of Wardship

The official charging document in a Lake County juvenile delinquency proceeding is called a "Petition for Adjudication of Wardship."

Many Possible Outcomes

Outcomes in juvenile delinquency cases can range from the dismissal of charges to incarceration in juvenile prison.

Your Child Must Have a Lawyer

The law requires that your child be represented by an attorney during all proceedings in Lake County juvenile court.

Power Over Parents & Guardians

The juvenile court has the power to order parents and guardians to cooperate and comply with court orders in a delinquency case.

Presumption of Innocence

Your child is presumed innocent of the charges in juvenile court and has the same Constitutional protections as an adult.


One striking difference between a juvenile and adult court criminal proceeding is that in juvenile court, the court actually has the power to order the parents or guardians of the minor alleged to be delinquent to comply with court orders imposed in the juvenile case, whereas in adult court the court has no such authority.

In juvenile court, parents or guardians actually can be made parties to the legal proceedings.

As a result, parents or guardians will be named on the "Petition for Adjudication of Wardship" and a "Summons" ordering them to appear in court with their criminally-accused child.

Can the court order parents or guardians to cooperate?

Parents and guardians can be court-ordered to cooperate with pretrial conditions and requirements, and also can be ordered to cooperate with the terms of any sentence that could be imposed on the minor in the resolution of the criminal charges in the case.

In comparison, a person age 18 or over at the time of the alleged commission of a criminal offense will be prosecuted as an adult.

In a prosecution maintained against an adult- someone age 18 or over- the court system will have no jurisdiction over the parents or guardian whatsoever.

When parents or guardians first appear in court in the juvenile proceeding, the court will provide them a "Notice of Rights."

This "Notice of Rights" is intended to inform the parents and guardians of their basic rights throughout the juvenile court proceedings.

Your child who now is facing a juvenile court prosecution in the form of a "Petition for Adjudication of Warship" is presumed innocent of the charges, just as would be an adult in an adult criminal case.

In fact, the standard of proof and rules of evidence that apply to adults also apply to juveniles in juvenile court.

Just as in adult court, in juvenile court the burden of proof is on the prosecution. Just as in adult court, in juvenile court the burden of proof to sustain a guilty finding is beyond a reasonable doubt.

A judge, not a jury, decides the verdict in juvenile court.

Someone prosecuted in adult court has the right to a jury trial in a criminal case. Conversely, in most cases a trial in juvenile court will occur only before a judge.

In juvenile court, a judge will make the ultimate determination of innocence or guilt and will render the trial verdict.

If your child is found not-guilty at trial, then the charges will be dismissed and your child will be released from the proceedings. If your child is found guilty, then a sentencing hearing will be held and the court will impose a sentence or other orders in the case.

If your child is found guilty after a trial, or if your child pleads guilty to a criminal offense as part of a plea agreement reached with the prosecution, depending on the circumstances of the case, there can be a number of potential sentencing options or other requirements available to the court. Some of these may include:

  • A continuance under supervision. No adjudication of delinquency occurs.
  • A sentence of probation or conditional discharge.
  • Commitment to the care of a relative or to an agency for care or placement outside the family home.
  • A requirement of obtaining a substance abuse evaluation and completion of treatment.
  • Commitment to the guardianship of the Department of Children and Family Services.
  • Placement in juvenile detention for up to 30 days.
  • Placement in detention for up to the maximum period allowed for adults found guilty of the same offense, but no longer than the minor reaching 21 years of age.
  • Placement on electronic home monitoring or home detention.
  • For a felony offense, commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice (Juvenile Prison).

The HoffmanLaw Office understands the different sentencing options available to the juvenile court judge in your child's case- if the case reaches a guilty verdict or guilty finding.

As you can see, many of these options are potentially serious. Juvenile court sentences also can be highly structured and impose a number of ongoing requirements on the juvenile defendant.

When we represent a juvenile client in a delinquency proceeding at the Lake County Juvenile Justice Complex in Vernon Hills, we work to reach an overall successful outcome of your child's case.

To achieve a successful outcome, your child's HoffmanLaw juvenile court defense lawyer not only takes into consideration the possible sentences and penalties that could be imposed, but also brings out positive information regarding your child in order to put his or her case into a more balanced perspective.

We understand the criminal charges that have been filed against your child are merely that- charges and allegations.

Is the "Petition for Adjudication of Wardship" evidence?

The "Petition for Adjudication of Wardship" is not evidence against your child. The "Petition" merely states the allegations and offenses the prosecution would try to prove if your child's case went all the way to a trial.

What positive factors are relevant to how the case is resolved?

Factors regarding your child's personal history, including performance in school, lack of prior criminal history, participation in treatment, including alcohol, substance abuse or mental health treatment, extracurricular activities, community, spiritual or religious involvement, community service, employment history, participation in sports or clubs, charitable activities, family and home environment, along with many others all are relevant and significant to resolving your child's delinquency case.

The HoffmanLaw Office knows these factors are relevant because we have been practicing law in Lake County juvenile court for more than fifteen years. We know how important it is to bring out positive evidence.

In Lake County juvenile court, we'll be your son or daughter's legal advocate.

It's our mission to protect your child's Constitutional rights and defend your child against the criminal charges.

With your assistance, we'll work with your child to explore effective resolutions of the issues in his or her juvenile criminal case. We'll work to deal intelligently with the facts of the case, and to move toward a positive outcome of the case overall.

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We understand that even though your child is presumed innocent, he or she still may not have made a wise decision in performing the acts that led to his or her arrest.

Yet we know everyone, every person, whether a juvenile or adult, makes mistakes. We believe it's how people respond to their mistakes that truly makes a difference.

When we represent a juvenile client in juvenile court, we seek to help our client learn from any mistakes he or she may have made.

At the same time, we wage a highly experienced, as well as deeply analytical and strategic defense to the criminal charges that brought your child into Lake County juvenile court.

The HoffmanLaw Office assists our juvenile court clients in turning things around, in working toward making better decisions, and in committing themselves to a life of success and progress.

We are, at our core, legal advocates for our clients. We view our work with our juvenile clients in Lake County juvenile delinquency court as an opportunity to impart, along with parental assistance, good and positive messages to the juveniles we defend.

We think if the juvenile accused can achieve the experience of dealing effectively with his or her own juvenile case through active participation with the attorney, then he or she ultimately can move and grow beyond the juvenile court process with a sense of accomplishment and personal empowerment.

In our view, that would be a success.


We wage a highly experienced, as well as deeply analytical and strategic defense to the criminal charges that brought your child into Lake County juvenile court.

~Attorney Matt Hoffman, the HoffmanLaw Office







Any Minor who Prior to His or Her 18th Birthday

Has Violated or Attempted to Violate

Any Federal, State, County or Municipal Law or Ordinance.


attorney analysis of lake county juvenile charges

Analysis.

The HoffmanLaw Office always is focused on the presumption of innocence. Building on this presumption, the HoffmanLaw Office performs a systematic and searching ANALYSIS of the facts alleged in your child's delinquency case. This intensive analysis exposes weakness in the prosecution's evidence and develops powerful defense arguments and strategies.

attorney preparation of lake county juvenile offenses

Preparation.

The HoffmanLaw Office strives to know completely the facts and law of your child's case. In juvenile court, good results do not often emerge by chance. They come through intense PREPARATION that lays the groundwork for success. When you select the HoffmanLaw Office as your child's legal advocate, your child will benefit from a philosophy of extreme preparation.

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Results.

The HoffmanLaw Office views every time it appears in court with your child as an opportunity to achieve RESULTS. Whether it is negotiating during a pretrial conference, cross-examining a witness, or delivering a closing argument at trial, the HoffmanLaw Office strives to be your child's best advocate at all times.

Is Your Child Facing a Lake County Illinois Juvenile Delinquency Prosecution?




Defending Misdemeanor and Felony Charges in Lake County Illinois Juvenile Court

Meet Matt Hoffman: A Lawyer with SERIOUS Experience


Attorney Matt Hoffman handles all juvenile delinquency matters at the HoffmanLaw Office. Matt is a former Lake County Assistant State's Attorney.

During his six years as a Lake County Assistant State's Attorney, and before starting the HoffmanLaw Office, he spent almost two full years working as a juvenile court prosecutor at the Lake County juvenile courthouse in Vernon Hills.

What kind of decisions did Matt make as a juvenile court prosecutor?

As a juvenile court prosecutor, Matt reviewed evidence and police reports in juvenile delinquency cases.

He made charging decisions, exercising the authority of the People of the State of Illinois in deciding to initiate formal juvenile court prosecutions against people under eighteen years of age.

In charging cases, Matt decided what charges to bring against the juvenile defendant, whether the charges would be misdemeanors or felonies, and how many charges would be issued.

He determined the language of the charging documents and drafted the "Petitions for Adjudication of Wardship" used to commence Lake County juvenile delinquency proceedings.

During his lengthy assignment to the Juvenile Division of the Lake County State's Attorney's Office, Matt's experience with juvenile delinquency prosecutions was vast.

Cases he handled included matters involving bodily harm, property damage, theft, burglary, trespassing, stolen vehicles, disorderly conduct, sex offenses, child pornography, possession of cannabis, possession of controlled substances and many others.

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Experience of a Former Prosecutor

Attorney Matt Hoffman of the HoffmanLaw Office spent almost two years prosecuting a wide range of misdemeanor and felony juvenile delinquency cases at the juvenile courthouse in Vernon Hills.

Commitment to Juvenile Defense

Since 2005, Attorney Matt Hoffman has defended juveniles charged with criminal offenses at the Lake County Juvenile Justice Complex. He has a strong record of success in effectively resolving juvenile delinquency matters.

What kind of day-to-day experience did Matt accumulate as a juvenile court prosecutor?

Working in the Lake County juvenile court system on a daily basis, Matt developed an immense understanding of the rules of juvenile delinquency court procedure.

In the courtroom, he represented the People of the State of Illinois in juvenile detention hearings, where the court ruled on issues of immediate and urgent necessity bearing upon continued detention of a minor brought into the court system while under arrest.

Matt's practice within the statutory rules of juvenile court procedure involved all other elements of juvenile delinquency court practice.

These areas included arraignment, pretrial, conditions of pretrial release, motions and hearings, trial, sentencing, post-dispositional issues and sentence violation proceedings.

Matt participated in juvenile court proceedings resulting in continuances under supervision, adjudications of delinquency and sentences of probation, sentences to outpatient and inpatient alcohol and substance abuse treatment, including the Lake County residential FACE-IT program, and commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice (juvenile D.O.C.).

Does Matt have experience with the most complicated types of juvenile delinquency cases?

Matt's tenure in the Lake County Juvenile Division was so lengthy and his interest in juvenile procedure became so strong that eventually he handled, under personal assignment, the most complicated areas of juvenile delinquency court prosecution.

These areas included all of the following types of juvenile court legal proceedings: habitual juvenile offender, extended jurisdiction, discretionary and presumptive transfers, and excluded jurisdiction.

In his capacity as a juvenile court prosecutor, Matt interfaced routinely with the Department of Juvenile Probation, representatives of various local treatment providers, the Lake County guardian ad litem, the Lake County Public Defender's Office, the Department of Children and Family Services, the Lake County F.A.C.E. IT program, police personnel from all over Lake County, and, on an almost daily basis, the presiding judges of the Lake County juvenile court system.

How does Matt use his prosecution experience to defend his juvenile court clients?

In Attorney Matt Hoffman, the HoffmanLaw Office provides a very seasoned and experienced Lake County, Illinois juvenile court advocate for your child.

Matt's immense former experience in prosecuting the juvenile defendant gives him enormous perspective on the juvenile cases he defends.

He uses this perspective to anticipate and then deal with issues as they arise in juvenile court, as well as to work as a powerful advocate in pursuing a positive outcome of your child's juvenile delinquency case.

At the conclusion of his time a prosecutor in Lake County juvenile court, Matt was given the Juvenile Justice Award for his achievements in the Juvenile Division of the Lake County State's Attorney's Office.

We are Here to Help



Why is my child required to have a lawyer?

Illinois law requires that every minor being prosecuted as a juvenile delinquent is represented by an attorney during the court proceedings. This is in part due to public policy reasons that hold that a juvenile defendant is not qualified to defend him or herself in such proceedings due to their young age. Some form of incarceration is a potential penalty in every juvenile court proceeding, whether the case is charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense. Additionally, the juvenile court can enter orders that will impact a minor's future freedom and obligations. Pursuant to the public policies of the State of Illinois, it has been determined that, due to the serious potential penalties involved, as well as to the factual and legal complexity of juvenile court, juvenile defendants require the input and protection of a licensed attorney.

What are the rules of evidence?

The rules of evidence in a juvenile delinquency case generally are the same as the rules of evidence that apply in adult criminal court. Both adults and juveniles charged with misdemeanor or felony offenses are presumed innocent of the allegations. Both adults and juveniles have the right to a trial where the burden of proof is on the prosecution and is beyond a reasonable doubt. In both adult and juvenile court, if the prosecution fails to prove any one of the elements of an offense beyond a reasonable doubt, then the accused should be found not-guilty of that charge. All of the Constitutional protections that apply to adults in criminal proceedings also apply to juveniles in delinquency court. Although the legal procedures in juvenile court can differ vastly from those that apply in juvenile court, the rules of evidence generally are the same.

Do the police have to read minors their rights?

The police are required to read Miranda and other rights to any minor under the age of 18 who is subject to their custodial interrogation before questioning the minor about an alleged offense. The police are required to read to the minor that he or she has the right to remain silent, the he or she does not have to say anything, that anything said can be used against him or her in court, that he or she has the right to a lawyer, that if he or she cannot afford a lawyer the court will provide one for free, that he or she can ask for a lawyer at any time, and that he or she has the right to stop the interview at any time.

What is a detention hearing?

In a Lake County juvenile delinquency case, a minor who has been arrested and is alleged to be delinquent must be brought before a judge with 40 hours for a detention hearing. Saturdays, Sundays and court holidays do not count toward the 40 hour deadline. At the detention hearing, the judge will decide whether the minor should continue to be held in custody pending the resolution of the criminal charges. At the detention hearing, if the court finds there is probable cause the minor is delinquent and it is a matter of "immediate and urgent necessity" to keep the minor in custody, then the court will order that the minor be held in "secure detention" at the Lake Juvenile Justice Complex pending further actions in the case.


lake county illinois juvenile delinquency lawyer

The HoffmanLaw Office defends minors under the age of 18 who are facing criminal charges in juvenile delinquency proceedings at the Lake County, Illinois juvenile courthouse in Vernon Hills. Juvenile court prosecutions are governed by penalties, rules and procedures that often differ greatly from those that apply in adult court.

Attorney Matt Hoffman of the HoffmanLaw Office has many years' experience with Lake County juvenile delinquency proceedings and "Petitions for Adjudication of Wardship." He is a former Lake County Assistant State's Attorney who used to prosecute juvenile cases in Lake County juvenile court. Matt handles all juvenile delinquency cases at the HoffmanLaw Office.

If your child is the subject of a juvenile delinquency proceeding in Lake County juvenile court, the HoffmanLaw Office has the specific experience necessary to work toward an intelligent and effective resolution of the case.

Matt Hoffman is a former recipient of the Lake County, Illinois Juvenile Justice Award.


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