When a person is charged with a crime prior between the ages of 10 and 17, their crimes are most likely classified as a juvenile offense, with some exceptions. In Lancaster County, juvenile offenses are handled by the County's Juvenile Probation Department, which is overseen by Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The purpose of the Juvenile Probation system is to offer younger defendants with the proper services and avenues to fulfill their sentencing. The juvenile probation process has several similarities with the adult probation process, however, certain measures will be enacted by the court due to the defendant's age and classification of the offense.
Lancaster County Juvenile Offenses
In Lancaster County, Juvenile Delinquency and Probation proceedings may move forward through either an informal or formal process. Depending on the case, a juvenile may undergo hearings, or they may be recommended certain restorative justice proceedings or rehabilitative avenues from the court. The process utilized depends heavily on the severity of the crime, prior records, and willingness to cooperate with the court system.
Formal Juvenile Adjudication & Probation Process
Much like an adult criminal proceeding, proceedings for juvenile delinquency will have their own criminal hearing process for delinquency. The juvenile in question will have to be found "delinquent" beyond a reasonable doubt. This will be done through an adjudication hearing that involves argument and evidence. Following an adjudication hearing, a disposition hearing will be held. A disposition hearing can be likened to a sentencing hearing, as it decides whether a juvenile will be committed to a juvenile detention center, or offered juvenile probation. Juvenile probation can come in several forms, including regular, intensive, or school-based probation. The court may also set certain terms of probation that can include rehabilitative services, such as alcohol and drug counseling, or restitution programs for the victim.
Informal Juvenile Offense Process
If the court decides to pursue the juvenile charges through an informal process, no hearing will be made, however, the juvenile will be required to participate in programs assigned by the court. This can involve service, counseling, education and sometimes may even involve the parents themselves. The juvenile probation office can provide services for a time period up to 6 months. Juveniles would also be placed under the supervision of a juvenile probation officer for this time period, however, their offenses will not be carried out in juvenile court. Lancaster County offers the CHOICES Competency Development Program, a Drug and Alcohol Awareness Group, a Parent Support Group Program, and Project Turnaround.
The Lancaster County Juvenile Probation Department is located in the Lancaster County Court House; the address is 50 N. Duke Street, Lancaster, PA 17602.
Lancaster County Juvenile Defense Attorney | Lancaster Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney
Going through a juvenile court proceeding in Lancaster can be an intimidating process, and negotiating the ins-and-outs of juvenile probation can be tiresome and confusing for any individual. An attorney can greatly help improve a juvenile's situation either at an adjudication hearing or during the negotiation of a juvenile's probation.
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 mind, but also in his heart.
Joseph Lento leverages his experience in the juvenile justice system to allow his juvenile clients in Lancaster to move forward from what is often a regrettable mistake, and to also help their parents and families get through what is often their most difficult time in life. He knows how to approach the Lancaster County Juvenile Court, the judge, the Juvenile Division of the Lancaster County Office of the District Attorney, 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.