Delaware County Juvenile Offense Attorney

In 2017, Delaware County received 1,086 new cases of alleged juvenile delinquency. Of those cases received, approximately 357 were felony offenses, 619 misdemeanors, and 110 of the minor summary offenses. The Delaware County Juvenile Court is responsible for handling these matters. Alleged offenders may be detained in their Detention Center facility, which is a secure environment capable of accommodating 66 juveniles.

Pennsylvania Delinquency Allegations By Age in 2017 (Percentage)

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

1.0%

2.2%

4.5%

9.1%

14.0%

19.0%

23.3%

26.5%

The Pennsylvania Code has rules and procedures that guide the state's juvenile courts. Juveniles are those between the ages of 10 and 17. Juveniles may be charged with minor summary offenses, a misdemeanor, or more serious felonies such as aggravated assault, rape, or motor vehicle theft.

Following an arrest, juveniles may either be released to their parents or remain in secure detention. Detention may be appropriate for children how have previously failed to appear for court appearances, who lack adequate parental supervision, or when other safety concerns exist.

Juvenile Court Intake

Juveniles who are charged with crimes are typically assessed by a probation officer. This assessment may largely influence whether the matter is best suited for some form of informal supervision or formal processing through the court. Considerations may include the seriousness of the offense; any perceived threat to the safety of the community, and more. There are four possible next steps as follows:

  • Dismissal: The court may decide it is appropriate to dismiss the case 
  • Informal Adjustment: A diversionary-type action where the juvenile remains in their home and is placed under the supervision of the probation office
  • Consent Decree: The probation department may recommend that a delinquency petition is filed; however, these proceedings can be suspended under a probation plan. A formal adjudication is avoided, but the record of an arrest may remain.
  • Adjudication: This is employed when the circumstances justify that the matter is addressed in court. In these situations, it is critical that the child is represented by an attorney that is familiar with this area of legal practice.

Adjudicatory Hearing

In an adjudicatory hearing, the District Attorney will present a case, which may include witness testimony. The child's attorney may also present evidence and cross-examine witnesses in defense. The juvenile court system does not allow for jury trials. The potential outcomes of these cases may include decisions such as a requirement for rehabilitation, treatment, that supervision (probation) be imposed, or the choice to schedule a disposition hearing.

Disposition Hearing

A disposition hearing could loosely be compared to the sentencing phase of an adult case. Judges and Hearing Masters consider the circumstances and recommendations of the Juvenile Probation Department and/or District Attorney. It is possible that offenders may be subject to placement in a residential facility.

Legal Representation

The juvenile justice system in Pennsylvania is unique and potentially confusing. In certain situations, a child may even be charged and subjected to adult penalties. Having seasoned legal counsel in the cases is critical.

Attorney for Juvenile Offenders in Delaware County

If your son or daughter was arrested for an act of delinquency it is important to protect their future. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has been effectively navigating Pennsylvania's juvenile court system for years. Contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for a consultation.

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, Outside of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance is educational advice, and does not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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