Any charge for a criminal offense can be a scary thing to handle, but when it is your child facing these charges it opens up a whole other set of worries. Your child's entire future may be at risk due to a criminal charge, if not properly defended. There are important options that may be available to you and your child, but without years of experience in the criminal defense field, you may not know your best options. With the help of a highly experienced criminal defense attorney at your side, you can protect your child's best interests, your child's freedom, and your child's future.
If your child is currently facing criminal charges in Norristown or Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, experienced criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento is here to defend your child's constitutional rights.
Norristown/Montgomery County Juvenile Defense Attorney
Joseph Lento has years of experience defending men, women, and juveniles from a range of felony and misdemeanor charges. He knows what awaits your child on the other side of conviction, as well as what moves to make now to defend against that outcome.
If your child has been accused of a juvenile offense like assault, drug and marijuana charges, theft, or sex crimes, contact the attorneys at the Lento Law Firm. Joseph Lento and his team will work hard to fight for the best possible outcome for your child. They do not settle on the easiest. Call (888) 535-3686 today to schedule your initial case consultation today.
Montgomery County Court Process for Juveniles
The juvenile process is much different than that adults face when charged with a crime. Pennsylvania law attempts to rehabilitate children, rather than punish them in the same way adults are. When charged with a crime, a delinquency petition is issued against the child. A judge will decide if the juvenile committed an illegal act, not a jury.
If the child is determined to be a "delinquent child" a date will be set for a disposition hearing, where the child will learn about the consequences they will face as a result of their actions. Juvenile cases are handled in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas located at:
530 Port Indian Rd.
Norristown, PA 19403
With a satellite juvenile probation office at:
102 Old York Rd.
Willow Grove, PA 19090
Juvenile Offenses in Norristown/Montgomery County
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's prosecutor will bring most criminal charges against minors through the Juvenile Division of the Montgomery County Office of the District Attorney. The purpose of this prosecutor is to prove that the child was "delinquent" rather than trying to prove that a person is "guilty" of a crime, as would be done with an adult.
A "juvenile" is defined as any person 10 years or older but under the age of 18 at the time the alleged offense was committed.
A juvenile will first face an adjudication hearing to determine whether he or she should be determined delinquent. At this time, the child will enter an "admission" to the conduct or the juvenile will contest the charges against him or her. At these hearings, it is incredibly important to have competent legal counsel present. In many cases, juveniles admit to conduct when they have a solid case to contest the charges. Never assume your child is guilty simply because they are charged with a crime.
At the hearing, the judge will determine whether sufficient evidence exists that the juvenile did commit the offense. This is not a final determination of whether your child committed the offense, only whether sufficient evidence exists to make it to the next stage of the proceedings.
The disposition hearing is the formal process through which the juvenile judge will determine whether the juvenile committed the offense charged. There is no jury, the judge decides whether the child committed the act or not. The prosecutor will present evidence, and your child's attorney can cross-examine any witnesses and present evidence to demonstrate that the child did not commit the offense charged.
Potential Conviction Consequences in Montgomery County
Typical penalties ordered by the court may include one or more of the following:
- Prison time – if charged as adult
- Time in a Philadelphia juvenile detention center
- House arrest
- Community service
- Substance abuse programs
- Temporary or permanent revocation of driving privileges or driver's license
- Random drug testing
There are many options a court can choose when determining a sentence. With the help of an experienced attorney, you can significantly increase the likelihood your child will face less severe consequences.
Juvenile Probation in Montgomery County
Juvenile probation can take a number of forms. Montgomery County will first appoint a Juvenile Probation Officer for the supervision of the juvenile who was found delinquent. Following this intervention by the Montgomery County Juvenile Probation Department, the period of supervision will begin. This will be similar to adult probation, as rules and treatment plans will be implemented.
Montgomery County relies on a goal-based approach, and a juvenile probation officer will set service hours or rehabilitative program participation goals for the juvenile to meet. The juvenile probation officer will also meet with the juvenile at regular intervals. Programs in Montgomery County for juveniles often involve counseling, job development, drug testing, medication, and regular evaluations.
The Montgomery County Juvenile Probation Department is located at:
530 Port Indian Road
Norristown, PA 19403 (map widget)
Pretrial Diversion Programs
A pretrial diversion program is a type of deferred adjudication that may be available to certain juveniles. This means that the child will agree to specific requirements of the program, but in exchange he or she will never be charged with the crime. The purpose of these programs is to rehabilitate young offenders, rather than pointlessly punish them.
If your child complies with the requirements, the criminal record is withdrawn, there is no trial, and there will be no need to worry about a criminal record.
Working with a Norristown Juvenile Defense Lawyer
If your child has been accused of a crime in the Norristown or Montgomery County area, it is highly recommended that you begin defending your child's rights and future as soon as possible. Joseph Lento is passionate about helping juvenile charges through the system and making sure justice is served on all sides.
For your consultation on how Joseph Lento and the team at Lento Law Firm can help you, call (888) 535-3686 today.