Juvenile cases can be particularly difficult for a family to confront. Often when minors are arrested, parents deal with a lot of stress and concern for the safety and future of their child. It is crucial that you hire an experienced juvenile defense attorney who aggressively advocates on your child’s behalf to protect their rights and safeguard their future.
Unfortunately, minors and their parents are often under or ill informed about their constitutional rights and willingly submit to police questioning or pressure without a second thought – a problem only exasperated by the intimidation inherent in any police stop or confrontation. From the moment your child is arrested or questioned, a juvenile defense attorney must get involved to guide you and your child through every step of the process.
The juvenile system can be very complex and overwhelming. Though it varies from state to state, the following provides a general overview of the juvenile criminal system:
Juvenile Criminal Cases in Pennsylvania – Arrests
After a minor is arrested, he is often referred to the juvenile probation office for intake where an evaluation of the minor and his case takes place. The probation officer and prosecutor must then decide if the minor will have to face a judge, be referred to a social service agency, or simply be sent home with no further action. If the probation officer believes the charges are serious, the case will then turn to the court system.
Juvenile Criminal Cases in Pennsylvania – Pretrial Detention
Typically, minors are only detained in a juvenile facility when serious charges are involved or if the minor has had past contacts with the juvenile justice system. Once detained, your child will meet with a judge for a review, where the judge will re-examine the reasons for detainment and ensure the child’s best interests are maintained. At that point, a skilled defense attorney may be able to arrange for the minor’s release. There is no bail in the juvenile system.
Juvenile Criminal Cases in Pennsylvania – Alternatives to a Court Hearing
If the probation officer decides to proceed without a formal hearing in juvenile court, arrangements may be made for alternative assistance. In making his decision, the officer will consider the seriousness of the alleged crime, the child’s personal history, and the level of remorse expressed by the minor. Should the officer decide to forego a formal hearing, the minor may be referred to mental health and behavior services or other youth services agencies.
Juvenile Criminal Cases in Pennsylvania – Formal Proceedings
Once the minor is formally charged, the judge will determine whether the individual should be tried as a juvenile or an adult, taking into consideration the severity of the alleged crime, the age of the individual, and other mitigating or aggravating circumstances unique to the minor’s situation. If the case stays in juvenile court, the minor can choose to enter into an admission, similar to a plea agreement in the adult system or proceed to trial. If, after trial, the judge concludes that the charges are true, the judge will decide whether the juvenile should be adjudicated delinquent or whether his/her adjudication should be deferred.
Juvenile Criminal Cases in Pennsylvania- Sentencing
Serious offenders may be sentenced to serve time in a juvenile corrections facility, a boot camp or various other residential treatment facilities, whereas other offenders may be sentenced to probation and minors who admit to the crime will be ordered to undergo a treatment program. Such treatment programs include community service, rehabilitation services in a group home or work camp, or referral to social service agencies.
Philadelphia Criminal Lawyers Who Handle Juvenile Cases
The Nenner Law Firm has extensive experience assisting minors and their families struggling through the juvenile justice system. In addition to providing aggressive representation in front of the judge or probation officer, we work with juvenile and criminal courts, social workers and psychologists, and other state officials to ensure that your child’s unique needs are met. We provide fierce representation and compassionate assistance for your family because we understand the trying circumstances of all juvenile cases. Our legal expertise and trial advocacy skills ensure that the interest of your child comes first.
Whether the case is brought in a juvenile or adult court, our skilled attorneys have proven approaches to defending minors facing a variety of charges, including:
- Firearm or gun offenses
- Theft, robbery, burglary
- Underage drinking or alcohol possession
- Trespassing and curfew violations
- Traffic violations, tickets, and driving without a license
- Gang activity and drug crimes
- Assault and battery
- Sexual offenses and rape
- Internet crimes
Call us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case: (215) 564-0644.