Can You Be Prosecuted for Being in a Fight at School?

Can You Be Prosecuted for Being in a Fight at School?Yes. Teens can face assault or battery charges if involved in a fight with another student or someone else at school. Both assault and battery are serious crimes in Illinois. Your child could face long-lasting consequences if convicted. Despite being a minor, they might be forced to serve time in jail if charged as an adult. A conviction may disrupt their life and negatively affect their future.

Fortunately, state laws aim to keep juveniles out of prison and focus on rehabilitation. Depending on the circumstances, your son or daughter could avoid imprisonment in exchange for probation or entering a treatment program. Immediately following the arrest, you should consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Fighting the charges is a battle you shouldn’t face alone.

Factors Used in Determining a Sentence

Many judges want to be lenient on juveniles charged with assault, battery, and similar criminal offenses. Even though fighting with someone at school is a physically violent action, many teens with a history of violent fighting are capable of becoming productive adults with some help.

A judge will consider a range of factors when deciding how to punish your child for the crime. These factors can include:

  • Criminal history
  • Age of the offender
  • Mental and physical health
  • Family background
  • The severity of the crime

The circumstances of the offense will also play a part in sentencing. The judge can look at the type of crime committed and any aggravating factors. For example, using a deadly weapon during an assault will sometimes make supervision a more challenging request than probation, and it’s always possible that under some very serious circumstances that your child might have to serve time in a juvenile detention center.

Alternative Sentences for Juveniles

If your son or daughter were charged with assault after a fight at school, you should hire an attorney to defend them in court. Your lawyer could request an alternative sentence to keep your child out of jail or detention.

The judge may order a pre-sentence investigation before the sentencing hearing. Such a report can provide background information on the juvenile and assist the judge with their decision. The report can also explore family dynamics, assess whether the teen has a mental illness, and review prior criminal charges.

Instead of imprisonment, the judge could enter your child into a Juvenile Diversion Program. The different options include:


If your child has a limited criminal history or this is their first arrest, the judge might consider placing them on supervision. Instead of convicting your child, the court may dismiss the case as long as your son or daughter meets all requirements and completes their sentence successfully.

The court monitors the offender during their supervisory period. If the child doesn’t complete the supervision successfully, the judge could issue a different penalty. For example, a violation of supervision could occur if the child commits another crime.


Probation is an alternative to serving time in a juvenile detention center. However, unlike supervision, it comes with a conviction on the child’s criminal record. The probationary period can last from one year to a longer period.

During probation, your child must meet all conditions set by the court. That could include:

  • Submitting to random drug tests
  • Entering an anger management treatment program
  • Checking in with the probation officer regularly
  • Performing community service
  • Obeying a curfew

Intensive Probation Supervision

Intensive probation supervision (IPS) allows a juvenile offender to live in the community with severe restrictions. The court monitors youths charged with crimes closely to reduce the risk that they’ll commit another offense.

IPS will work with other agencies to assist your child with their rehabilitation. These agencies can include:

  • Addiction resources
  • Counseling services
  • Mental health organizations
  • Vocational and educational training programs
  • Community treatment programs
  • Social services

Conditional Discharge

Conditional discharge is similar to probation. However, the offender doesn’t have to check in with a probation officer. This type of alternative sentence also doesn’t require as much oversight.

The court will set specific conditions your child must meet while serving their sentence. Conditions might include:

  • Paying a fine
  • Completing community service
  • Attending a treatment program
  • Paying restitution to the victim
  • Being monitored by the court instead of a probation officer
  • Refraining from participating in additional legal activity

Residential Treatment Center

Residential treatment centers have inpatient and outpatient programs. If your child attends an outpatient program, they can reside with you while serving their sentence. An inpatient program requires juvenile offenders to stay at the facility.

Whether the court requires your son or daughter to complete an inpatient or outpatient program, they could receive counseling and treatment for a mental illness. If necessary, they can also receive treatment for substance abuse.

Contact Us

If your son or daughter faces criminal charges after getting into a fight at school, you should contact Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC immediately. We can review the circumstances of the offense to determine whether they’re eligible for a diversion program.

Your child shouldn’t spend months or years of their young life in court or in detention. Let us defend them against the charges they face to secure their freedom and future.

Call us at (312) 644-0444 right now for your free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer in Illinois.

Written by Mitchel S. Sexner Last Updated : February 17, 2022