West Chester Juvenile Offenses Attorney

Facing any type of criminal charges 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 education, career, and 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 with no experience in the criminal defense field, you may not be aware of your best options. With the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer at your side, you can protect your child's best interests.

If your child is currently facing criminal charges in West Chester or Chester County, criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento is here to defend your child.

West Chester/Chester County Juvenile Defense Attorney

Joseph Lento has years of experience defending juveniles and adults from a range of charges. He knows what could await your child on the other side of conviction or adjudication, as well as what moves to make now so this doesn't happen.

If your child has been accused of a juvenile offense such as assault, drug and marijuana charges, theft, or sex crimes, contact the Lento Law Firm. Joseph will work hard to fight for the best possible outcome. Call (888) 535-3686 today to schedule your initial case consultation today.

Chester County Delinquency Process

Pennsylvania law attempts to rehabilitate children, rather than punish them in the same way adults are. If a minor is charged with an offense, a delinquency petition is issued against that minor. A judge, rather than a jury of peers, will determine if the juvenile committed an illegal act.

If the judge makes a determination 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 in the Chester County Justice Center, located at:

201 Market Street
West Chester, PA 19382

The office of Juvenile Probation is also located within the Chester County Justice Center.

Chester County Juvenile Offenses

The prosecutor will bring most charges against minors through the Juvenile Division of the Chester County Office of the District Attorney. The purpose of this prosecutor is to prove that the child should be adjudicated "delinquent", rather than trying to prove someone is "guilty" of a crime, as seen in the adult criminal justice system.

PA 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.

Adjudication Hearing

The first step in the process is an adjudication hearing. At this hearing, the judge will 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 legal counsel present.

The judge will determine whether sufficient evidence exists that the juvenile did commit the offense. This is not a final determination; this hearing is only to determine if sufficient evidence exists to make it to the next stage of the proceedings.

Disposition Hearing

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 ultimate determination. 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.

Please note, these processes are for individuals under the age of 18 who are charged as juveniles; if your child has been charged with an offense as an adult, this will not be the process.

Potential Chester County Juvenile Penalties

Typical penalties ordered by the court may include one or more of the following:

  • Time in a juvenile detention center
  • House arrest
  • Curfew
  • Probation
  • Fines
  • Community service
  • Counseling
  • Substance abuse programs
  • Temporary or permanent revocation of driving privileges or driver's license
  • Random drug testing

Juvenile Probation in Chester County

Juvenile probation is intended to encourage children and teenagers to reach rehabilitative goals. The process is as follows: Chester County will first appoint a Juvenile Probation Officer (JPO) for the supervision of any juveniles found delinquent. The period of supervision will then begin.

During the period of supervision, certain rules may be imposed upon a juvenile (such as a curfew, drug testing, refraining from associating with certain individuals, etc). A treatment plan will be implemented. A Chester County JPO will set goals for each supervised juvenile. These goals can include things such as service hours or rehabilitative program participation goals. The JPO will also meet with the juvenile at regular intervals. Chester County programs for juveniles often involve counseling, job development, drug testing, medication, and regular evaluations.

Pretrial Diversion Programs

pretrial diversion program is a type of deferred adjudication that may be available to certain juveniles, depending on the circumstances of the case. In a pretrial diversion program, the child will agree to specific requirements, but in exchange, he or she will never be charged with the offense.

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. Your defense attorney can advise you whether or not your child may be eligible for a pretrial diversion program.

West Chester Juvenile Defense Lawyer

If your child has been accused of a crime in the West Chester or Chester County, it is highly recommended that you seek out an experienced juvenile offense attorney. Joseph Lento is passionate about helping juvenile charges through the system and not letting a youthful mistake have lasting repercussions.

For your consultation on how Joseph Lento and the team at Lento Law Firm can help you, call (888) 535-3686 today.

Contact Us Today!

footer-2.jpg

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

Menu