Parents often want their children to face the consequences of making a mistake. Still, some situations call for an aggressive defense. A juvenile criminal offense can have harsh and long-lasting effects. If criminal allegations are involved, it is always in your child’s best interest to have an experienced juvenile lawyer on their side.
West Chester criminal defense lawyer Michael J. Skinner is ready to help your son or daughter who was arrested on a juvenile offense in areas around Chester County, including:
At Skinner Law Firm, we know the importance of defending your children and keeping them with you. Let us fight for the best possible outcome. We pursue options to spare them from the harsh penalties of being labeled juvenile offenders.
Here are the answers to some of the most common questions parents like you have about juvenile crime in West Chester. If you have further questions, contact our office to talk to a professional about the details of your child’s arrest and charges. Your first consultation is free and always confidential.
Your child’s conviction for a juvenile crime could be expunged. An expungement is not automatic, and your child must be at least 18 years old to qualify. There are other qualifications. Juveniles convicted of adult crimes are not eligible for expungement in West Chester.
Juvenile detention is certainly a possibility if your child is found guilty of a crime. However, the state of Pennsylvania focuses on rehabilitation for juveniles. An experienced juvenile defense lawyer may help your child avoid detention and remain at home.
Under Pennsylvania law, expulsion is removal from public school for more than ten days. Your child could face expulsion as a result of a juvenile conviction, particularly a violent crime conviction. Schools are obligated to protect students from harm.
However, your child also has the right to an education. The school district must offer alternatives to in-person instruction.
As an accomplished defense attorney and former Chester County prosecutor, Michael J. Skinner is highly experienced and knowledgeable for many juvenile offenses in Pennsylvania.
Technically, there are no juvenile offenses. However, penalties for juveniles are typically less harsh than those indicated for adults who commit the same crime.
Here are some of the more common juvenile crimes in West Chester.
It is illegal to consume, buy, or sell alcohol for people under 21. Still, teens find a way to obtain alcohol, either with a fake ID or through an older friend. Juveniles arrested for drunk driving face DUI charges despite being underage.
Many people wrongly assume that an order of adjudication is not very serious. All criminal charges are serious, particularly those that threaten your child’s future.
In today’s climate, being under 18 does not necessarily protect you from being charged as an adult for a sexual offense. These cases require immediate and experienced attention from a capable attorney.
Not every prank is innocent. Defacing or destroying someone else’s property can result in severe penalties, ranging from a summary offense to a felony charge/a>.
Regardless of age, the possession, sale, and manufacture of controlled substances is illegal in Pennsylvania. Penalties for a juvenile vary but might include possible time in custody, probation, substance abuse treatment, and a mark on your criminal record.
If convicted of a criminal offense in West Chester, your child could potentially face severe repercussions to their future educational and career opportunities. There are also penalties for children who violate a juvenile diversion program’s requirements, such as:
Pennsylvania has separate systems for juveniles charged with crimes. Suppose a child under 18 commits an offense. In this instance, their case will likely be adjudicated or decided by a judge within the juvenile court system.
In most cases, a delinquent child in Pennsylvania is ten years or older whom the court has adjudicated guilty of a delinquent act and needs treatment, supervision, or rehabilitation. However, in some criminal cases, a juvenile can be transferred to an adult court.
Typical juvenile proceedings in Pennsylvania follow this process:
A juvenile can appeal the court’s decision after the final disposition by filing with the Superior Court of Pennsylvania within 30 days of the final disposition hearing. It is important to remember that a juvenile still has the right to an attorney throughout the juvenile court process.
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Instead of having a criminal trial, the district attorney can offer deferred adjudication. The juvenile will have to agree to specific requirements and deadlines. If the child complies with the requirements, there will be no trial, criminal charges are withdrawn, and there will be no criminal record.
If both sides agree, a juvenile lawyer may file a consent decree. In the consent decree, the child will be kept under supervision in his home and meet requirements as set forth by the probation officer. A conviction may be expunged once all requirements are met within the required time.
Has your child been charged with a crime? These West Chester juvenile crime resources may be helpful for you and your family.
601 Commonwealth Ave., #9100
Harrisburg, PA 17106
The JCJC was established in Pennsylvania to advise juvenile courts about proper care and maintenance, establish standards governing the juvenile courts, and compile statistics about delinquent juveniles in Pennsylvania.
1800 John F Kennedy Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
The Pennsylvania branch of this national nonprofit seeks to advance and protect the rights and well-being of children who have committed juvenile offenses in Pennsylvania.
313 West Market St.
West Chester, PA 19380
Chester County Juvenile Probation Department develops balanced and restorative plans that involve juveniles’ families, victims, and community to ensure accountability and develop valued skills.
50 N. Duke St.
Lancaster, PA 17602
Provides balanced attention to protect the community and develop competencies so that children can become responsible and productive members of the community.
530 Port Indian Rd.
Eagleville, PA 19403
The Montgomery County Juvenile Justice System is dedicated to ensuring that juvenile offenders are held accountable and develop the competencies to become positive members of society.
201 West Front St.
Media, PA 19063
Addresses juvenile crime, promotes victim restoration, and strives for the positive development of the youth, families, and communities served and protected by the court.
Don’t let a youthful mistake or lapse in judgment negatively impact your child for the rest of their life. Entering the criminal justice system at a young age is a slippery slope. The trappings of being labeled a juvenile delinquent are challenging to overcome. The Skinner Law Firm should be your first call if your child runs into legal trouble.
Let us find possible defenses or mitigating factors to help your child avoid a permanent criminal record. Contact us at 610-436-1410 today for a free, initial consultation. Or fill out our quick contact form, and we’ll contact you to find out more about your child’s juvenile charges.