A juvenile charge is made when a person commits a crime prior to their coming of age into legal adulthood. In Pennsylvania, these charges are typically assigned to defendants who are between the ages of 10 and 17 years old. In Bucks County, the Court of Common Pleas, located in Doylestown, PA, has established a juvenile court for resolving criminal acts that involve juvenile defendants. Juveniles will be provided separate avenues for justice than criminal offenders.
Bucks County Juvenile Offenses
When a Bucks County juvenile is to be tried under the law, they will be brought before the Bucks County Juvenile Court. A juvenile will be granted similar rights to individuals undergoing criminal proceedings and will be entitled to a hearing process that is similar to that used in an adult criminal proceeding. The first step is an adjudication hearing. At this hearing, a juvenile defendant will be brought against a state prosecutor who represents the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, most often through the Bucks County District Attorney's Office, and who will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a juvenile has committed a "delinquent" act, rather than being guilty of a criminal offense. The standard of evidence in these cases is the same as a criminal proceeding, and similarly, a juvenile will have the right to present their own supporting evidence and be represented by an attorney. If a juvenile is found "delinquent" by the court, they will face a subsequent hearing known as the "disposition" hearing. This hearing is similar in nature to a sentencing hearing in a criminal matter. Depending on the circumstances of the situation, a juvenile will either be placed into a juvenile detention facility, or will have to undergo a period of juvenile probation.
Bucks County Juvenile Probation
Bucks County offers several forms of probation for juvenile defendants who are granted probation at their disposition. The type of probationary measures assigned will greatly depend on the crime associated with the sentencing. In Bucks County, a juvenile will be assigned to a juvenile probation officer who will establish the terms and conditions of probation with the court. The court may assign any number of restorative justice or rehabilitative options for a juvenile defendant. This can include community service, community programs, sole or group counseling, and more.
The Bucks County Juvenile Probation Department is located at the Bucks County Courthouse. The Department's address is 55 E. Court Street, 6th Floor, Doylestown, PA 18901.
Bucks County Juvenile Defense Attorney | Doylestown Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney
It can be common for a sense of youthful pride to encourage younger individuals to commit brazen acts that may break the law. Despite the general preference of the juvenile justice system to treat, supervise, and rehabilitate, rather than punish a juvenile offender, the stakes are always high when a young person is accused. Simply because the offense is at the juvenile level does not mean that the prosecution or the court will hold back. In Bucks County, juvenile court can be stern and unforgiving, even for younger offenders. When facing juvenile charges, hearings in front of a judge and prosecutor can be intimidating and stressful for any child. A skilled and experienced juvenile and criminal defense attorney can ease this stress both for the juvenile and his or her parents and family, and also make sure the juvenile's rights are protected and a strong defense is mounted.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento worked as a juvenile probation officer while attending Temple University's Beasley School of Law at night, and he became an attorney to continue the work he started years earlier - helping youthful offenders move forward in life. Helping young people has always been a focus of Joseph Lento's professional career; through his work with the juvenile court system, his work in the education field, and for close to a decade, representing juvenile clients faced with delinquent and criminal offenses. Joseph Lento advocates for his juvenile clients not only with the philosophy of helping young people move forward in life in mind, but also in his heart.
Juveniles who are facing delinquency proceedings in Doylestown, and their parents and families, can be overwhelmed by what takes place. The stakes can be high, and Joseph Lento leverages his experience in the juvenile justice system to allow his juvenile clients to move forward from what is often a regrettable mistake, and to also help their families get through what is often their most difficult time in life. He knows how to approach the Bucks County Juvenile Court, the judge, the Juvenile Division of the Bucks County District Attorney's Office, and the juvenile probation officer, and he is not satisfied until he gets his juvenile clients and their families the best possible result. Joseph's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's juvenile offense from all angles and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any juvenile client and their families.