Most folks can remember making at least one youthful mistake. While many of these are remembered with nothing more than a smile and shake of the head, sometimes these lapses can come with serious consequences: juvenile criminal offense charges. These charges can impact your child's education, career, and future. If you ever find yourself in this position, an experienced juvenile defense can be invaluable; you may be unaware of all the options you and your child actually do have. With an experienced criminal defense lawyer at your side, you can protect your child's best interests.
If your child is currently facing charges in Media or Delaware County, criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento is here to protect your child's rights.
Media/Delaware County Juvenile Defense Attorney
Attorney Joseph Lento has years of experience defending adults and juveniles from a range of criminal charges. He knows what could await your child on the other side of conviction or adjudication, as well as what moves to make now to avoid this.
If your child has been accused of a juvenile offense such as drug charges, theft, violent crimes, or sex crimes, contact the Lento Law Firm. Call (888) 535-3686 today to schedule your initial case consultation today.
Delaware County Delinquency Process
Pennsylvania law looks at a child who has been charged with a criminal offense differently than it does adults; the purpose of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate children who might be adjudicated delinquent rather than punish them. If a minor is charged with an offense, a delinquency petition is issued against that minor. A judge, rather than a jury, will determine if the juvenile committed the illegal behavior.
If the judge does in fact determine that the juvenile is a "delinquent child", a date will be set for a disposition hearing. At the disposition hearing, the child will learn about the consequences he or she may face. Juvenile matters are handled at the court, located at:
201 W. Front Street
Media, PA 19063
The mission statement of the Delaware County Juvenile Court & Probation Services is: "To address juvenile crime, promote victim restoration, and strive for the positive development of the youth, families, and communities served and protected by the Court. We are committed to achieve balanced and restorative justice by employing evidence-based practices with fidelity, collecting and analyzing data, measuring the results and outcomes and always striving to continuously improve the quality of our decisions, services and programs."
Delaware County Juvenile Offenses
Charges against minors are brought through the Juvenile Division of the Delaware County Office of the District Attorney. The purpose of this prosecutor is to prove that the child should be adjudicated "delinquent."
The law defines a "juvenile" as any person 10 years or older but under the age of 18 at the time the alleged offense was committed. However, it is important to note that just because an individual is under the age of 18 at the time an alleged crime was committed, that individual is not guaranteed to be charged as a juvenile. Depending on the circumstances of the case, some teenagers may be charged as an adult, in which case the process will be different.
At an adjudication hearing, the judge will determine whether the child should be determined delinquent. At this hearing, the child will enter an "admission" to the conduct or the juvenile will contest the charges against him or her. The judge will determine whether sufficient evidence exists that the juvenile did commit the offense. The purpose of this hearing is only to determine if sufficient evidence exists to make it to the next stage.
During a disposition hearing, a juvenile judge will determine whether the juvenile committed the offense charged. A disposition hearing does not involve a jury; the judge makes the final decision. The Commonwealth will present evidence. Your child's lawyer may cross-examine any witnesses and present evidence to demonstrate that the child did not commit the offense.
Delaware County Juvenile Penalties
Penalties ordered by the court may include one or more of the following:
- Community service
- House arrest
- Random drug testing
- Substance abuse treatment programs
- Temporary revocation of driving privileges
- Time in a juvenile detention center
Delaware County Juvenile Detention
Delaware County maintains a Juvenile Detention Center. located in Lima off Route 352. The Center "provides secure custody, guaranteeing that youths will be available for court appearances when they have failed to do so in the past and/or there is a lack of parental supervision or responsibility for the youth's appearance. It further ensures that youths will be available for psychological, psychiatric, and/or educational diagnostic testing." At the time of this writing, the Detention Center has 66 beds for Delaware County admissions.
Juvenile Probation in Delaware County
If a child has been adjudicated delinquent, Delaware County will appoint a Juvenile Probation Officer to supervise the minor. While under supervision, rules such as a curfew or randomized drug testing may be imposed upon a juvenile.
A Delaware County Juvenile Probation Officer (JPO) will set goals for each juvenile. Such goals can include things such as service hours or rehabilitative program participation. The JPO will also meet with the juvenile at regular intervals. Bucks County programs for juveniles can involve counseling, community involvement/services, job development, drug testing, medication, and regular evaluations.
Delaware Juvenile Probation Intake Services is located at:
201 W. Front Street
Media, PA 19063
Media Juvenile Defense Lawyer
If your child has been accused of an offense in the Media or the Delaware County area, having an experienced juvenile lawyer to advocate on your behalf is essential. Joseph Lento is passionate about not letting a youthful mistake have lasting repercussions.
See how the Lento Law Firm can help you. Call (888) 535-3686 today.