Under Pennsylvania law, a person will be charged with a juvenile offense if they are being charged with a crime and they are between the ages of 10 and 17 years old. Matters pertaining to juveniles will be resolved within the Juvenile Justice Center at the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas located in Easton, PA. The Juvenile Justice Center is dedicated to providing juveniles with justice options that promote values and leadership, rather than instilling punishments. The court will appoint a judge for a juvenile case, and treat it with almost the same processes as a criminal case.
Northampton County Juvenile Offenses
When a juvenile is facing charges, they are entitled to hearing processes through the Juvenile Justice Center. The first thing to keep in mind is that the court considers these crimes as "delinquencies" and will use different terminology when handling these cases. Instead of suffering a criminal conviction, if a juvenile is found guilty, they will be referred to as "delinquent." Despite the different terminology, a juvenile is entitled to the same standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt" that an adult criminal defendant would be afforded in a criminal proceeding. Similarly, a juvenile defendant also has an opportunity to enter a "plea" before adjudication hearings begin, which will generally be referred to as an "admission."
Adjudication hearings will take place in front of a judge, and will determine whether or not a juvenile is delinquent. This can be likened to a criminal trial, and a juvenile should have legal representation in such a matter. If a juvenile is found to be delinquent, they will then move on to a hearing for their "disposition." A disposition may be likened to a sentencing hearing in a criminal matter, and the judge will determine what measures are appropriate for the juvenile's correction. This can either be time spent in a juvenile detention center or a period of time under the supervision of a juvenile probation officer. Northampton County Juvenile Court, when appropriate, emphasizes treatment, rehabilitation, and supervision instead of punishment.
Northampton County Juvenile Probation Options
When a juvenile is offered a term of probation, Northampton County will assign the youthful offender a juvenile probation officer. Probationary services for juveniles in Northampton County include programs that are rehabilitative in nature, with the overall goal of reuniting a juvenile with their family following and provisions taken for a delinquency incident. Juveniles under probation services are likely to be required to participate in restitution, community service, or other restorative justice means. Community service is common in the County, and juveniles may have assignments that directly relate to the corresponding crime. In addition, parents are able to suggest potential community service sites as well.
There are two locations for the Northampton County Juvenile Probation Department. The Easton office is located at 650 Ferry Street, Easton, PA 18042.
The Bethlehem office of the Northampton County Juvenile Probation Department is located at 2801 Emerick Boulevard, Bethlehem, PA 18020.
Northampton County Juvenile Defense Attorney | Easton Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney
Juvenile court proceedings can be just as intimidating and daunting as an adult criminal proceedings, especially for a younger individual and his or her family. Juvenile court uses similar processes and rules of evidence as a criminal proceeding, and as much can be on the line when a young person is accused of a crime as when an adult is accused; in some respects, more can be on the line because a youthful offender's future can be at stake. Because of these considerations, it is critical to obtain representation from an experienced juvenile court and criminal defense attorney.
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.
Juveniles who are facing delinquency proceedings in Easton, and their parents and families, can be overwhelmed by what takes place. The stakes can be high, and Joseph Lento leverages his experience in the juvenile justice system to allow his juvenile clients 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 Northampton County Juvenile Court, the judge, the Juvenile Division of the Northampton 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.
If you or a loved one is facing juvenile charges or negotiating terms of juvenile probation in Easton or Northampton County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.