In Pennsylvania, when a person commits a crime prior to their legal adulthood, they are likely to face these criminal charges at the juvenile level. The general age group for juvenile charges is ages 10 through 17. In Delaware County, the Juvenile Court is responsible for holding jurisdiction over cases of juvenile criminal acts. The Juvenile Court is a division of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas, located in Media, PA.
Juvenile Offenses in Delaware County
When a person faces juvenile charges, the court will have a separate hearing process for the juvenile offender. Much like an adult person facing criminal charges, a juvenile individual will be entitled to a hearing process, with certain differences. The first step in this process is an adjudication hearing. These will be held in the Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Court. The purpose of this hearing is to determine through evidence, argument, and fact-finding, whether or not a juvenile committed a "delinquent" act. Rather than using terms of criminal court, juveniles are found "delinquent" instead of guilty, and a conviction is considered a "delinquency," or being adjudicated "delinquent." These hearings will be held in front of a judge, argued by a state prosecutor, and will also use the same evidence standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt" as used in adult criminal proceedings. The second step in the hearing process is a disposition hearing. A disposition hearing can be likened to a sentencing hearing in a criminal proceeding. They will be similar in nature as they determine what action the state will take upon a juvenile found to be delinquent. The outcome of the disposition hearing will either place the juvenile in a juvenile detention center, or in a juvenile probation program. The disposition assigned will be dependent on the severity of the act, and the juvenile's general attitude and cooperativeness to the process.
Juvenile Probation in Delaware County
If a juvenile is granted probation in Delaware County, they will be assigned a juvenile probation officer at the county court. Juvenile probation will proceed similarly to adult probation, however, the general attitude behind this service is rehabilitation and restorative justice for the juvenile. In addition, the court may order programs for the juvenile to participate in as a condition of their juvenile probation. These programs may include community service, restorative justice, or educational programs. Juveniles are typically required to check in with their probation officer as well for drug testing or consistency to ensure they are attending their assigned programs.
The Delaware Count Juvenile Probation Department is located in the Delaware County Courthouse, 201 W. Front Street, Media, PA 19063.
Delaware County Juvenile Defense Attorney | Media Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney
Juvenile court can be both intimidating and confusing for a child, and parents as well. While juvenile court may seem as though the law takes a relaxed approach due to the age of the offender, courts are likely to be just as firm, regardless of the situation. A juvenile's chances in court can be greatly improved through representation from an experienced criminal defense and juvenile defense attorney.
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 Media, 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 Delaware County Juvenile Court, the judge, the Juvenile Division of the Montgomery 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 frontlines 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.
If you or a loved one is facing juvenile charges or negotiating juvenile probation in Media or Delaware County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.