As of January 1, 2014, in Illinois young people age 17 or under are considered juveniles for purposes of prosecution, trial, sentencing, and punishment. However, the Illinois’ automatic statutory exclusion statute (known as automatic transfer) requires that children as young as 13 be prosecuted as adults if they commit certain crimes. This is commonly referred to as “automatically transferred to adult court.”
This statute also mandates that youth of any age who have been convicted as an adult (whether they were automatically transferred or not) always be automatically transferred to adult court for any subsequent offenses. Consequently, once a child has been convicted as an adult he/she can never have their case heard in juvenile court regardless of their age. In addition, Illinois is one of only 14 states that automatically transfers children to adult court without the option of reverse waiver – meaning once they are sent to adult court based on the mere filing of a charge that triggers the transfer per the statute, they have no option for a hearing to reconsider that decision based on applicability of the charge, circumstances, background of the youth, etc.