If you or your child has been charged with a juvenile offense in Pennsylvania, the consequences can be more serious than you might think. Just because the charges involve a minor does not mean the court will be lenient. Contact our juvenile criminal defense attorneys immediately to defend you and your rights.
Juveniles convicted of a crime can spend months or years in a juvenile detention facility in Pennsylvania. As a result, your child might not be able to do certain things as a minor or an adult because of the juvenile conviction:
- Not attend your hometown school
- Not work in certain professions
- Not serve in the military
- Not be permitted to carry a firearm
Who is Classified as a Juvenile Offender in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania’s legal system defines a juvenile as anyone between the ages of 10 and 18 years old. Under this system, supervision of juvenile offenders can continue until the person is 21 years old. An exception includes murder. Anyone charged with homicide in Pennsylvania will be charged as an adult. Other exceptions include certain violent crimes committed by a person 15 years old or older that has been previously adjudicated delinquent of certain violent crimes, including rape, robbery, and kidnapping.
How is Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Justice System Different?
Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice system has many unique rules which make this legal system different from the criminal justice system for adults in Pennsylvania. Some of the differences include:
- No jury trial in juvenile court
- Judge or hearing master rules on all juvenile offenses
- Offenses classified as “delinquent acts” instead of “crimes”
- Most juvenile court hearings not open to the public
- Instead of being “convicted” or “found guilty,” children are “adjudicated delinquent”
What are Common Juvenile Offenses in Pennsylvania?
Juvenile offenses cover a wide range. Some of the most common offenses minors under 18 years old are charged with include:
- Underage DUI
- Drug possession
- Assault Charges
Will I Have a Criminal Record as an Adult Due to a Juvenile Offense?
Many people believe juvenile records are sealed and not accessible to the public. But in many cases, juvenile criminal records are public records. That means prospective employers can see such records, even if the charges were dismissed. Even first-time juvenile offenders who went through Pennsylvania’s ARD program (which is similar to probation) sometimes still have a record of their crime, which might be accessible to someone conducting a background check. Often, juveniles or adults with juvenile records are able to have records of such criminal activity permanently removed. It’s best to seek the advice of an attorney about expungement or clearing your criminal record.
“How Can Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano Help?” – Juvenile Criminal Defense
The stakes are simply too high if you or your child has been charged with a crime as a juvenile. That’s why we work so hard on these cases. We realize that an adjudicated delinquent decision for a juvenile can have devastating consequences. Our attorneys thoroughly understand the juvenile justice system in Lackawanna County and other neighboring counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania. We know what evidence to look for, which questions to ask and how to transform all that information into a strong legal case.
If you are represented by us for a juvenile criminal defense, we will do everything we can to help you achieve the best possible outcome, from avoiding time in a detention facility to probation or even having the charges dismissed and removed from your criminal record. Schedule a free case evaluation and contact us by calling (570) 348-0776.