Being charged with a Pennsylvania criminal offense is intimidating enough, but when the defendant is your child, that can bring on a whole new set of worries. How will this affect my child or teenager's future? Are there any alternatives to the traditional consequences? These are important questions to ask, because your child or teenager's future education and employment opportunities could be at stake.
Additionally, your child could be placed in a Philadelphia juvenile detention center. An experienced defense attorney will fight for your child's rights and guide you and your child to a brighter future.
Philadelphia Juvenile Defense Attorney
Joseph Lento has years of experience defending men, women, and juveniles from a range of felony and misdemeanor charges. He knows what awaits your child on the other side of conviction, as well as what moves to make now to defend against that outcome.
If your child has been accused of a juvenile offense like assault, drug and marijuana charges, theft, or sex crimes, contact the attorneys of Lento Law Firm. Joseph Lento and his team will work hard to fight for the best possible outcome for your child. They do not settle on the easiest. Call (215) 535-5353 today to schedule your free initial case consultation today.
An Overview of Pennsylvania's Juvenile Justice System
- Proceedings for Juvenile Delinquency
- Pre-Trial Diversion Programs for Minors Under 18
- Juvenile Conviction Consequences in Pennsylvania
- Resources for Juvenile Offenders in Philadelphia
Proceedings for Juvenile Delinquency
In Pennsylvania, a delinquent child is any minor 10 years or older whom the court has adjudicated guilty of a delinquent act and is therefore in need of treatment, supervision, or rehabilitation. The laws governing the juvenile criminal process are in Pa Code Title 237.
Juvenile proceedings in Pennsylvania typically begin when a law enforcement officer or district attorney files a court petition. Once the petition is filed, an adjudicatory hearing will be held by a judge to determine whether there is enough evidence indicating that the juvenile did indeed commit the alleged offense.
If the judge determines your child is guilty, he or she will sentence your child to some form of treatment, supervision, rehabilitation, or confinement. This decision can be appealed within 30 days of the disposition. The appeal must be filed with the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.
Pre-Trial Diversion Programs for Minors Under 18
If the Philadelphia district attorney's office deems your child is a fit, he or she can offer deferred adjudication instead of submitting a petition directly to the courts. In the case of deferred adjudication, your child will have to agree to specific requirements within a specific period of time, which could include things like counseling or community service. If your child complies with the requirements, the criminal record is withdrawn, there is no trial, and there will be no need to worry about a criminal record.
If your child doesn't qualify for deferred adjudication, goes to court, and is adjudicated delinquent, there is another option available to you to avoid your child's submission to a detention center. Instead, a consent decree can be entered into by all parties in which the juvenile will be kept under supervision in his or her home and meet specific requirements made by your child's probation officer.
If your child meets all the requirements set forth by the Pennsylvania probation officer, your child will have his or her juvenile record expunged.
Juvenile Conviction Consequences in Pennsylvania
Your child could be facing severe repercussions if he or she is convicted of a criminal offense or violates the requirements of a juvenile diversion program. In addition to the following statutory punishments set forth by the judge, your child may also have reduced educational and occupational opportunities due to his or her criminal record.
Typical penalties ordered by the court may include one or more of the following:
- Prison time – if charged as adult
- Time in a Philadelphia juvenile detention center
- House arrest
- Community service
- Substance abuse programs
- Temporary or permanent revocation of driving privileges or driver's license
- Random drug testing
Resources for Juvenile Offenders in Philadelphia
Juvenile Court Judges' Commission – The Juvenile Court Judges' Commission, or JCJC, advises Pennsylvania juvenile courts about delinquent children and their proper care and maintenance. Additionally, the JCJC gathers statistics about delinquent Pennsylvania juveniles and establishes juvenile court standards.
Juvenile Law Center – The JLC is a national nonprofit seeking to protect and advance the rights and well-being of juvenile offenders. This links to the page for the Pennsylvania JCJC branch.
Finding the Best Juvenile in Philadelphia to Defend Your Child
If your child has been charged with a delinquent act and you are concerned for his or her future, contact the experienced attorneys of Lento Law Firm. Joseph Lento has extensive experience in multiple areas of the juvenile legal process in Pennsylvania, and he will fight to make sure your child's case stays on the track to success and rehabilitation.
Your first consultation on your child's Philadelphia juvenile offender case is free, so call (215) 535-5353 today to schedule yours.