The Court of Common Pleas are the state of Pennsylvania's official trial courts of general jurisdiction. These courts have initial jurisdiction over all the cases that are not exclusively assigned to another court, and appellate jurisdiction over judgments from minor courts (like the Philadelphia Municipal Court, the Pittsburgh Municipal Court, and magisterial district courts in all other counties). Common Pleas Courts are organized into 60 judicial districts across the state.
Philadelphia Juvenile Court
In Philadelphia, Juvenile Court is a branch of the family division in of the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. It is the only division in Philadelphia County that handles all matters related to minors, ranging from juvenile delinquency to adoptions.
Juvenile delinquency is a large part of the county's Juvenile Justice System. People under the age of 18 who commit an act that would be considered a crime if they were adult, will have to go before the juvenile court.
However, there are a variety of other services and processes in Philadelphia's Juvenile Justice System that are beneficial to minors and their families. They include (but are not limited to):
- Prevention services: the enforcement of intervention programs by Philadelphia's Juvenile Justice System targets minors who exhibit high-risk or at-risk behaviors. There are also programs that are family focused, providing reconciliation and counseling services for minors and their immediate family members.
- Drug courts: Juvenile drug courts incorporate specialized services for youth and their families.
- Truancy cases: truancy - excessive absenteeism from school - petitions and cases where parents or other parties who allege a child is incorrigible are handled by this system.
- Adoptions: the adoption of a person under the age of 18 will be solidified through Philadelphia's juvenile system.
- Allegations of child abuse or neglect: any claims that involve child abuse or neglect will be handled by these courts.
Juvenile courtrooms, juvenile probation, and other services are located at 1501 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102. For more information about a case, or for general information about this branch of the family division, call (215) 686-4100.
Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney
What minors do while they're young and don't know any better can haunt them in the future. Parents who have a child that will be involved in Philadelphia's juvenile justice system need to be proactive for the sake of their child's future. The first and immediate step parents should take is to hire an attorney. Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience defending the rights of the youth in various cases. Not only has he fought in the trenches of the Philadelphia court system for a decade, he worked as a Philadelphia juvenile probation officer while attending Temple University's Beasley School of Law at night. Because of his skill and experience, he's helped countless juvenile defendants obtain favorable outcomes, and in doing so, protect their futures. Contact him today online or by phone at (215) 535-5355 for help.