West Chester

Juvenile Defense Attorney

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:

  • West Chester
  • Phoenixville
  • Kennett Square
  • Downingtown
  • Oxford
  • Coatesville
  • Exton

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.

Get a free consultation today to learn how West Chester juvenile defense attorney Skinner can protect your child. Call 610-436-1410 or use our quick contact form.

West Chester Juvenile Crime FAQ

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.

Can My Child Expunge a Conviction?

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.

Will My Child Go to Jail?

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.

Does a Juvenile Conviction Mean Expulsion from School?

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.

Common Juvenile Crimes in Pennsylvania

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.

Juvenile Alcohol 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.

West Chester Juvenile Adjudication

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.

Juvenile Sex Crimes in West Chester

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.

West Chester Vandalism & Criminal Mischief

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.

Juvenile Drug Charges in West Chester

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.

our awards & memberships

  • A professional non-profit dedicated to the improvement of the criminal defense bar, and to providing valuable information to the public about drunk driving laws. Members of the NCDD are considered the most experienced DUI defense attorneys in the United States and Canada.

  • The preeminent organization in the United States. NACDL serves as a leader in identifying and reforming flaws in the criminal justice system, and addressing systemic racism, and ensuring that the criminal defense bar is fully equipped to serve all accused persons at the highest level.

  • PACDL is the premier network of the best defense attorneys in PA with a mission to educate, advocate, and inspire by providing support for criminal defense lawyers, promoting effective competence, leveling the playing field, and protecting freedoms.

  • The Pennsylvania Bar Association promotes and protects the legal profession, the rights of Pennsylvania citizens and access to justice for all. Membership is open to any lawyer in good standing who is licensed by the Bar of Pennsylvania.

  • The American Bar Association is one of the world’s largest voluntary professional organizations, with over 400,000 members and more than 3,500 entities. Their mission is to serve its members, the legal profession, and the public by defending liberty and delivering justice as the national representative of the legal profession.

  • The CCBA promotes professionalism, inclusion, and collegiality within the Chester County legal profession, and enhances the quality of life of its members and the practice of law within the community.

  • The NORML Legal Committee (NLC) is composed of attorneys committed to the overall goals of NORML. NLC attorneys meet each year to discuss emerging legal issues related to defense of marijuana consumers and to support each other in the pursuit of justice.

  • The American Institute’s Criminal Law Division is an impartial third-party rating service recognizing the excellence of fellow practitioners. To help clients across the United States make educated decisions, we compile an exclusive list of the “10 Best” Attorneys for each State. Our “10 Best” is a prestigious honor extended only to those who have reached the top of their profession while doing so with the client’s satisfaction being of paramount importance.

  • The American Institute’s DUI/DWI Division recognizes the excellence of practitioners in the field of DUI/DWI defense. We compile an exclusive list of the “10 Best” Attorneys for each State for potential clients to utilize. We look for Attorneys that have achieved unparalleled success but most importantly have done so for the benefit of their client. Very few Attorneys can do so and our organization recognizes this significant achievement.

  • Attorney Michael Skinner has been consistently recognized as among the best lawyers in Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties. Attorneys are nominated via peer balloting, then vetted through our editorial process in various fields of practice.

  • The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state. Membership is extended only to the most qualified attorneys who demonstrate superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, stature and public profile. Each of our distinguished members possesses the knowledge, skill, experience, and success held by only the best and finest lawyers in America.

  • The Super Lawyers list recognizes no more than 5 percent of attorneys in each state. The Rising Stars further distinguishes no more than 2.5 percent of attorneys, and to be eligible, a Rising Stars candidate must be either 40 years old or younger, or in practice for 10 years or less who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

Penalties for Juvenile Crimes in Chester County, PA

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:

Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings in Pennsylvania

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.

West Chester Juvenile Crime Process

Typical juvenile proceedings in Pennsylvania follow this process:

  • A law enforcement officer or district attorney files a petition with the court.
  • A judge holds an adjudicatory hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence of the crime.
  • If the judge finds a juvenile guilty, sentence options include treatment, confinement, supervision, or rehabilitation.

Appealing the Court’s Decision

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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Avoiding a Juvenile Record in West Chester

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.

Resources for Juveniles in Pennsylvania

Has your child been charged with a crime? These West Chester juvenile crime resources may be helpful for you and your family.

Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission

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.

Juvenile Law Center

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.

Chester County Juvenile Probation

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.

Lancaster County Office of Juvenile Probation

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.

Montgomery County Juvenile Court

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.

Delaware County Juvenile Court

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.

Call a West Chester Juvenile Defense Lawyer

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 with a Chester County criminal defense attorney. Or fill out our quick contact form, and we’ll contact you to find out more about your child’s juvenile charges.