The law only applies to those sentenced under the Juvenile Court Act. Adults, or children prosecuted in criminal court are not eligible. Determine if you were sentenced for a misdemeanor or a felony. If it was a misdemeanor you are able to petition after 2 years from the date you were ordered to register as a sex offender (sentencing date). If it was a felony, the time period is 5 years. The burden of persuasion is on the petitioner. The standard is a preponderance of the evidence (i.e. more likely true that not true) that the petitioner poses no risk to the community. Among the things the court is required to consider are: (1) a current risk assessment, (2) the delinquent's sex offender history, (3) evidence of rehabilitation, (4) the delinquent's age at the time of the offense, (5) info related to mental/physical/educational/social history, (6) victim impact statements, (7) anything else the court finds relevant.
What You Need to Do
Make sure you don't get arrested anymore, for anything. It goes toward showing rehabilitation, although sex offenders rarely have histories of other delinquency. The law states that "at the hearing...the registrant shall be represented by counsel." In my experience in Lake County, the P.D. did not represent even former clients on these petitions (regarding them as civil, like an expunction--I cannot speak for other counties). Hire a lawyer experienced in juvenile law matters. Obtain a current risk assessment (sex offender evaluation), even if you got a certificate of completing treatment with flying colors. It doesn't necessarily have to be with the person or agency that did the original one, but it must be a board certified specialist. A mental health assessment by a psychologist, psychiatrist, or mental health professional with JSO treatment experience is also advisable.
Although the law is fairly new (eff. 10/11/07), IT IS RETROACTIVE to any juvenile made to register even before this law's passage!!! Secondly, any petition denied is without prejudice and can be refiled any time, so don't lose hope. But beware: filing fees (that no doubt vary by county) will probably be required because more often than not, wardship will have terminated by the time of this petition so the case will need to be re-opened. .
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