from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County Nos. 16-CF-3214,
17-CF-248, 17-CF-249 Honorable John S. Lowry, Judge,
Presiding., Honorable Fernando L. Engelsma, Judge, Presiding.
JUSTICE McLAREN delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Zenoff and Burke concurred in the judgment
1 At issue in these consolidated appeals is whether
possession of a stolen vehicle (625 ILCS 5/4-103(a)(1) (West
2016)) is a violation of a traffic law, such that a minor
accused of committing that offense may be tried as an adult
pursuant to section 5-125 of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987
(Juvenile Court Act) (705 ILCS 405/5-125 (West 2016)). The
State appeals from orders dismissing criminal charges against
the defendants. We affirm.
2 In case No. 2-17-0342, D.H. was charged by indictment with
possession of a stolen 2009 Toyota Camry. The offense
allegedly occurred on January 27, 2017. On that date, D.H.
was 16 years old. In case No. 2-17-0392, J.T. was charged by
indictment, along with D.H., with possession of the Camry.
J.T. was also charged with possession of a stolen Chevrolet
Cruze. That offense also allegedly occurred on January 27,
2017. On that date, J.T. was 17 years old. In case No.
2-17-0347, M.R. was charged by indictment with possession of
a stolen 2003 Jeep Liberty. That offense allegedly occurred
on December 11, 2016. M.R. was later charged with possession
of a stolen Mitsubishi Galant. That offense allegedly
occurred on February 15, 2017, while M.R. was released on
bond. On both dates, M.R. was 15 years old.
3 At the hearing on D.H.'s motion to dismiss, the State
advised the trial court that two Rockford detectives located
the Chevrolet at 1816 Vernon Street. The officers conducted
surveillance at that address and saw the Toyota pull into the
driveway and soon after drive off. A patrol officer followed
the Toyota, which crashed into two cars. D.H., J.T., and a
third occupant of the Toyota fled on foot, but D.H. was
apprehended and identified as the driver of the Toyota.
During a hearing on a motion by J.T. for a bond reduction,
the State presented the same account. In addition, the State
advised the court that J.T. was apprehended and that the keys
to the Chevrolet were in his possession. J.T. admitted
stealing the Chevrolet and driving it to D.H.'s
4 M.R. was originally charged by indictment with a single
count of possession of a stolen vehicle. A probable-cause
statement prepared after M.R.'s arrest indicated that, on
December 11, 2016, a Rockford police officer located the
stolen Jeep in the parking lot of a Wendy's restaurant.
The officer entered the parking lot with his vehicle's
emergency lights activated. The driver of the Jeep tried to
flee, hitting the officer's vehicle in the process. The
driver then drove the Jeep into a snow bank, and the driver
was apprehended. The driver was identified as M.R. As noted,
M.R. was later charged with another count of possession of a
stolen vehicle. According to a probable-cause statement, on
February 13, 2017, the stolen Mitsubishi was found in the
parking lot of the school that M.R. attended. M.R. was
questioned, and he admitted that he drove the Mitsubishi to
5 The trial court dismissed the charges against the
defendants, ruling that the defendants could not be
prosecuted as adults. The State argues on appeal that the
defendants may be prosecuted as adults, pursuant to section
5-125 of the Juvenile Court Act.
6 Section 5-125 provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
"Any minor alleged to have violated a traffic, boating,
or fish and game law, or a municipal or county ordinance, may
be prosecuted for the violation and if found guilty punished
under any statute or ordinance relating to the violation,
without reference to the procedures set out in this Article
For the purpose of this Section, 'traffic violation'
shall include a violation of Section 9-3 of the Criminal Code
of 1961 or the Criminal Code of 2012 relating to the offense
of reckless homicide, Section 11-501 of the Illinois Vehicle
Code, or any similar county or municipal ordinance." 705
ILCS 405/5-125 (West 2016).
7 The offense of possession of a stolen vehicle is defined in
section 4-103(a)(1) of the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS
5/4-103(a)(1) (West 2016)), which, as pertinent here,
provides that it is a violation of chapter 4 of the Vehicle
Code for "[a] person not entitled to the possession of a
vehicle or essential part of a vehicle to receive, possess,
conceal, sell, dispose, or transfer it, knowing it to have
been stolen or converted." The State insists that
section 4-103 is a traffic law, such that a minor accused of
violating it may be prosecuted as an adult. The State notes
that section 5-125 of the Juvenile Court Act states that,
"[f]or the purpose of this Section, 'traffic
violation' shall include a violation of Section 9-3 of
the Criminal Code of 1961 or the Criminal Code of 2012
relating to the offense of reckless homicide, Section 11-501
of the Illinois Vehicle Code, or any similar county or
municipal ordinance." 705 ILCS 405/5-125 (West 2016).
The State argues that the term "traffic violation"
is not limited to those two offenses. The State also notes
that the offense of possession of a stolen vehicle is
"specifically included" in the Vehicle Code rather
than the Criminal Code of 2012 (720 ILCS 5/1-1 et
seq. (West 2016)). According to the State, "[h]ad
the legislature wanted to include it in the Criminal Code
instead, it certainly could have done so and it did
8 The State is correct that "traffic violation" is
not limited to the two offenses specifically mentioned in
section 5-125 of the Juvenile Court Act. "The words
'include' or 'including' are ordinarily terms
of enlargement rather than restriction and indicate that
items enumerated in a statute are not meant to be
exclusive." Gem Electronics of Monmouth, Inc. v.
Department of Revenue, 286 Ill.App.3d 660, 667 (1997).
The task still remains to determine what offenses other than
those specifically mentioned in section 5-125 are violations
of traffic laws. By pointing out that possession of a stolen
vehicle appears in the Vehicle Code rather than the Criminal
Code, the State appears to assume that all laws found in the
Vehicle Code are traffic laws. We do not share the
9 To determine whether possession of a stolen vehicle is a
violation of a traffic law, we look to the definition of
"traffic." Section 1-207 of the Vehicle Code
provides that "traffic" means "[p]edestrians,
ridden or herded animals, vehicles, streetcars and other
conveyances either singly or together while using any highway
for purposes of travel." 625 ILCS 5/1-207 (West 2016).
We fail to see how, when measured by this definition, the law
proscribing possession of a stolen vehicle could be
considered a traffic law. Moreover, the character of the