When a person between the ages of 10 and 17 is facing criminal charges, they are likely to face these charges at the juvenile level. Juvenile charges, resolved within the juvenile justice system, are meant to be less severe in terms of punishment for criminal actions that are done by individuals within their youth. Youthful rebellion often leads to poor decisions that a juvenile may not realize can impact their future severely. In Lehigh County, these charges will be addressed by the County's Juvenile Court, which is within the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas located in Allentown, PA.
Juvenile Offenses in Lehigh County
When a juvenile faces charges, the court will refer to these charges as "delinquency" charges or "delinquent" charges, rather than criminal charges. Similarly, a conviction will be referred to as a juvenile being found "delinquent." In court, the State must prove that a juvenile committed the criminal act beyond a reasonable doubt in order to find the juvenile delinquent on the charges. The first step in the process is an adjudication to determine whether or not the juvenile is in delinquency.
The adjudication hearing can be likened to a criminal hearing for an adult. If a juvenile is found delinquent, the next step in the process is to hold a disposition hearing, which can be thought of as similar to a sentencing hearing. Hearings will be based off of evidence available and handled similarly to a criminal case. The result of a disposition hearing can either be a juvenile moving forward to probationary supervision, or the juvenile being placed into a juvenile detention center. Lehigh County does not have a detention center of its own, however, juveniles may be placed in centers of neighboring counties. These hearings may be held either by a Court of Common Pleas judge, or a court-appointed master who will hold similar authority. The authority that presides over the hearing depends on the severity of the juvenile offenses/acts.
Juvenile Probation Options in Lehigh County
Juveniles who are permitted probation will be assigned a Juvenile Probation Officer by the Court and may be assigned to certain programs for their sentencing instead of detention. Lehigh County offers several services to juveniles, both rehabilitative and educational. Some programs include the Alpha Program, the Baum School of Art, Cognitive Based Therapy, Victim and Community Awareness Classes, Girls Circle, an Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program and more. The program or form of probation will depend on what the juvenile's charges were, and the severity of the situation.
The Lehigh County Juvenile Probation Department is located at 455 Hamilton Street, Allentown, PA 18101.
Lehigh County Juvenile Defense Attorney | Allentown Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney
Engaging in matters within Juvenile Court can be a confusing and intimidating time for any young individual and his or her family. In addition, many who enter the court are uncertain as to what consequences and outcomes they may be facing upon the conclusion of the matter. For this reason, it is best to enter the courtroom with an attorney who knows and understands the ins-and-outs of both juvenile and criminal court.
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 this philosophy in mind, but also in his heart.
Joseph Lento leverages his experience in the juvenile justice system to allow his juvenile clients in Allentown 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 Lehigh County Juvenile Court, the judge, the Juvenile Division of the Office of the Lehigh County 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.