Juvenile Offenses & Deliquency
Chester County Juvenile Lawyer
You want to protect your child from any harm, no matter what. But sometimes kids get into trouble, and face criminal accusations. They could be false allegations or exaggerated claims. But even if the accusations are true, you never want to let your child be thrown to the wolves of the criminal justice system.
Your child has a right to an attorney who can look out for his or her best interest — experienced counsel who will advocate for your juvenile. It’s important to seek the best defense for your West Chester juvenile, because this matter can greatly affect your child’s future, including his or her educational opportunities and what jobs he or she may be able to obtain.
West Chester Juvenile Defense Lawyer
At Ciccarelli Law Offices, we have a team of dedicated defense attorneys who will work together to build the strongest possible defense for your teenager or child. Your son, daughter, grandchild or other juvenile’s future is at stake. A West Chester juvenile defense lawyer from Ciccarelli Law Offices will help protect your child from accusations and seek the best possible result. Call us today at (610) 692-8700 to set up a consultation with an attorney to discuss your juvenile’s situation.
Based in West Chester, we represent juveniles on criminal matters throughout the Greater Philadelphia region, with offices in Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Radnor, Lancaster, Springfield, Kennet Square, Plymouth Meeting and Malvern. We serve clients in Chester County, Montgomery County, Delaware County and Lancaster County.
Our firm is experienced in defending and representing individuals under the age of 18 (juveniles or minors) who are facing serious misdemeanor and felony criminal charges as well as non traffic summary matters. It is recommended to consult with a Juvenile Lawyer if you suspect or have been notified of a pending criminal investigation or arrest by your child or loved one.
Juvenile Court often matters arise when the Juvenile Probation Office is referred a complaint from the police alleging criminal misconduct by a minor (under the age of 17). Once the District Attorney’s office acknowledges their intent to prosecute the juvenile, the Juvenile Probation Office notifies the parents in writing to them to appear for an initial interview. It is very important that a juvenile has the benefit of legal counsel and legal advice before appearing for the interview or speaking with the police. Contact us by EMAIL or by contacting us at (610) 692-8700 or toll free at (877) 529-2422.
Juvenile Court Proceedings Are Not Always Private
Everyone assumes that a juvenile court proceeding is private and that a juvenile court proceeding in Chester County or anywhere in Pennsylvania is kept confidential but that is not always the case. The courtroom can be made public if the offense is serious offense including if the Juvenile is 14 or old at the time of the offense and the charges are felonies; or at 12 or older and the offenses are:
- Voluntary Manslaughter
- Aggravated Assault
- Involuntary Deviant Sexual Intercourse
- Robbery of a Motor Vehicle; or
- Attempt or Conspiracy of the above charges
In addition, your school will be notified of the offenses if you are adjudicated delinquent. In the event of an adjudication of a felony, your school will be notified of the charges, your treatment reports and prior history. Before its too late, speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer to discuss your pending juvenile offenses and what steps can be taken to protect your family. Contact us by EMAIL or by contacting us at (610) 692-8700 or toll free at (877) 529-2422.
Juvenile Records Can be Used In Adult Criminal Proceedings
A juvenile conviction, whether it occurs in Chester County or Lehigh County or Philadelphia can come to haunt a juvenile as he enters adulthood and faces adult criminal charges. A court can consider a juvenile record when considering to grant bail; whether to grant probation on misdemeanor offenses, sentencing on felonies and it is a consideration in federal court sentencing. A Juvenile adjudication or conviction does matter.
- Pre-charge Juvenile representation
- Juvenile Probation Interviews
- Juvenile Court representation
- Summary Level representation including underage drinking and retail theft
- Drug and alcohol related offenses
- Underage DUI Offenses
- School related crimes
- High School Crimes
- College Offenses
- Assault and violent crimes
- Breaking and entering and burglary
- Harassment and stalking
- Marijuana possession and use
Key Issues in Juvenile Defense
How will Juvenile Charges Impact My College Application?
Do a need a Juvenile Attorney?
What is the Juvenile Court Process?
Will Your Child Be Prosecuted like an Adult?
What Does a Juvenile Probation Officer Do?
What’s the Difference Between a Juvenile and an Adult Prosecution?
Juvenile Proceedings in Pennsylvania
Minors must follow the law. If a criminal accusation is leveled against a person who is 10 or older, though, they go through the juvenile justice system.
Common charges against juveniles include:
- Juvenile Drug Charges
- Juvenile Marijuana Charges
- Juvenile DUI
- Minor in Possession of Alcohol
- Juvenile Theft
- Juvenile Sex Crimes
- Juvenile Assault
- College Offenses
- School crimes
- Juvenile Court
- Serious Crimes
A minor is considered a “delinquent” if they are 10 or older, have been adjudicated as guilty and in need of treatment, supervision or rehab. Usually, a juvenile proceeding begins when a law enforcement officer or district attorney files a petition with the court. In the resulting hearing, a judge hears the evidence against the juvenile and adjudicates a decisions
A juvenile found delinquent is subject to treatment, supervision or a variety of other measures. The ruling can be appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court within 30 days.
Deferred Adjudication and Consent Decree for Chester County Juveniles
The district attorney might offer deferred adjudication instead of a criminal conviction to a juvenile. Under deferred adjudication, the minor must complete certain requirements within a certain time period. If the minor does so, the charges are withdrawn and he or she will not have a conviction on his or her record.
If criminal charges are filed, then the West Chester defense attorney and the prosecutor can work out a consent decree. Under a consent decree, the child is kept under supervision and must meet the requirements set forth by a probation officer. If the juvenile meets all these requirements, the records of the offense may be expunged from his or her record.
Understanding the Impact of a Criminal Prosecution Against Your Adolescent Child
The impression or assumption that an adjudication or conviction of juvenile crimes automatically disappear as soon as a juvenile turns 18 is a mistaken, as is the assumption that the Juvenile Court’s jurisdiction over an individual adjudicated delinquent automatically ends at age 18. Do not let your child be the victim of your ignorance of the law, whether your child is facing prosecution in Chester County Juvenile Court, Lancaster County Juvenile Court, Montgomery County Juvenile Court, Delaware County Juvenile Court or the other area Juvenile Courts in the area.
Chester County, Pennsylvania Juvenile Defense
Hearing that your child has been arrested and charged with a criminal offense in Chester County, Pennsylvania is something no parent wants to ever hear. If your child has been arrested you must take the charges very seriously. After all, it is your duty as a parent or guardian to protect the rights and future of your child. While you certainly want your child to understand there are consequences to their actions, you do not want future opportunities lost because of a long stay at a detention center, jail time (if charged as an adult), large fines, probation or other criminal punishments. Any and all of these punishments can potentially affect your child’s educational plans, employment plans and career choices.
In most states—and in Pennsylvania—a juvenile under the age of 18 can be charged with the same types of crimes as an adult. This means the juvenile can also receive the same punishments as an adult if convicted of the crime. Such harsh punishments for a child whose brain has not even fully developed can truly alter the juvenile’s life in very negative ways.
Because of this, you must ensure your child has an experienced Chester County juvenile defense attorney by his or her side from the moment you are told of the charges. When you need aggressive representation and a highly knowledgeable legal team, the Ciccarelli Law Offices can help. You can contact our office by email or by phone at (610) 692-8700 or 877 529-2422. When you contact our Chester County, Pennsylvania juvenile defense attorneys today, you can rest assured knowing your child has a law firm on their side that will fight 24/7 to protect their future.
Juvenile Crime in Chester County & Pennsylvania
Our juvenile defense attorneys have represented children and teens who have been accused of crimes throughout Chester County, including: West Chester, Phoenixville, Coatesville, Downingtown, Lionville, Kennett Square, Paoli, Oxford, Exton, Chesterbrook, Berwyn, Parkesburg, Thorndale, Spring City, Malvern, West Grove, South Pottstown, Kenilworth, Lincoln University, Honey Brook, Eagleview, Cain, Devon, Toughkenamon, and Atglen. We have the resources and experienced to protect your child throughout the juvenile criminal legal process and we will fight aggressively every step of the way.
Chester County is one of the three original Pennsylvania counties and is home to nearly a half million people. It’s county seat is West Chester and it is a part of the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area. Some of its main boroughs include West Chester, Phoenixville, Coatesville, Downington, and Lionville. It is a beautiful community that is a mix of urban and suburban cities and rural agricultural areas. Agriculture in Chester County is still a major part of the county’s economy, including numerous horse farms.
According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Protection, there were an estimated 809,700 arrests of juveniles under the age of 18 in 2017. While this number may sound alarming, it is actually 59 percent less than the number of juvenile arrests in 2008. The majority of the juvenile arrests in 2017 were for property crimes, with 910 arrests for murder. About 40 percent of juvenile detentions are due to technical violations of probation, low-level property offenses, drug possession, status offenses and public order offenses. Most of these activities were for activities which would not be considered a crime for an adult, such as truancy and alcohol possession. In short, a large percentage of youth are placed in detention for offenses which are clearly no threat to public safety.
Juvenile Court or Adult Court for Chester County Pennsylvania Juveniles
The goal of juvenile court—in Pennsylvania and across the nation—is rehabilitation rather than punishment. The goal of adult court is definitely punishment, although there may be minimal efforts in rehabilitation. In Chester County, a juvenile—no matter his or her age, so long as the child is ten or more years old—will be charged as an adult for the criminal offense of murder (42 Pa. C. S. Sec. 6302). Further, if a juvenile uses a deadly weapon during the commission of certain serious offenses, the case may automatically go to adult criminal court (42 Pa. C. S. Sec. 6355(g)). A juvenile who has been adjudicated delinquent for specific serious criminal offenses may also be subject to criminal prosecution in adult criminal court for any future charges.
To be transferred to adult court, a petition will first be filed in Juvenile Court, alleging delinquency, then the Court could potentially rule that the Juvenile Act is inapplicable for Juvenile Court, therefore will be transferred to adult Criminal Court. For this to occur, the juvenile must be at least 14 years of age, and a hearing must be held to determine whether a transfer to adult court should occur. The judge must find the delinquent act would be considered a felony if it had been committed by an adult, that a prima facie case exists to show the child committed the alleged delinquent act, that the public interests would be served by transferring the juvenile case to adult court and that the child is not mentally ill (42 Pa. C. S. Sec. 6355).
When determining whether the public interests will be served by the transfer to adult court, the judge must consider the impact of the alleged crime on the victim, the impact of the criminal act on the community (the safety of the public) and the juvenile’s overall culpability in the act. The judge will also determine whether the child can reasonably be rehabilitated within the confines of the juvenile court and the time constraints of the jurisdiction of the juvenile court.
What Crimes Do Chester County Juveniles Commit?
At Ciccarelli Law Offices, our experienced Chester County juvenile defense attorneys have represented juveniles accused of numerous crimes, including:
- Underage drinking
- Disorderly conduct
- Assault or battery
- Possession of marijuana
- Drug sales, trafficking, or possession
- Bullying or other school offenses
- Traffic violations
- Sex crimes
While the majority of juvenile crimes in Chester County are more minor offenses, juveniles can be charged with highly violent crimes including rape, murder, and arson. In these cases, they may be tried as an adult in the criminal system and could face significant time behind bars.
The Chester County Juvenile Justice Process Overview
Once a juvenile is arrested, (Juvenile Rules Title 237 120-141) or there has been a referral, the juvenile will either be released to his or her parents or guardians or will be sent to detention (42 Pa.C.S.§6326). If sent to detention, there will be a detention hearing within 72 hours, at which time the judge will either decide to return the juvenile to detention pending an adjudication hearing, will allow the juvenile to return home with his or her parents or guardians or will dismiss the case for lack of evidence. If the juvenile is adjudicated delinquent, there will be a disposition hearing. At the disposition hearing, the judge may sentence the juvenile to deferred adjudication, fines, restitution, community service, probation, placement in a detention center, placement in another facility or placement in a foster home or group home (if the home life is judged to be part of the problem).
The detention hearing must occur within 72 hours from when the juvenile was detained. At the detention hearing the judge’s primary purpose is to determine whether your child should remain in detention or should be released. The judge will first determine whether there is a reasonable basis to believe your child committed the criminal act he or she is being accused of. The judge will then determine whether it is in the best interests of the public to hold your child in detention and whether it is in the best interests of the juvenile to hold him or her in detention (if the judge believes the juvenile’s home life has contributed to the delinquency). If there is a less restrictive alternative than detention—like electronic monitoring—then the less restrictive alternative is usually implemented.
At the detention hearing, an adjudication hearing will be set—this hearing must be held within ten days of the filing of the delinquency petition.
How a Chester County Juvenile Defense Attorney Can Help
If your child has been arrested and charged with an offense, it is extremely important that you immediately contact a knowledgeable Chester County juvenile defense attorney. Your child’s future is at stake and having an experienced Pennsylvania juvenile defense attorney by their side from start to finish can truly make a difference in the outcome of the charges. Contact Ciccarelli Law Offices at (215) 228-0100.
Our office is located at 304 North High Street, West Chester, Pennsylvania to better serve you. We have successfully defended juveniles throughout Pennsylvania who have been arrested and accused of a variety of crimes. We have tried cases in the Chester County courts as well as in Delaware County courts, Lancaster County courts, Montgomery County courts, Philadelphia County courts, Berks County courts, and Bucks County courts.
Potential Consequences for a Juvenile Conviction in West Chester
If adjudicated as guilty, or if your child makes a mistake and violates the provisions of his or her deferred adjudication or other probation program, there are a several different penalties your child might face. If charged as an adult, he or she may face time in prison. If adjudicated as a juvenile, your child might face:
- Home confinement (house arrest)
- Random drug testing
- Substance abuse programs
- Lost driving privileges
- Community service
It’s also important to remember that, while many juvenile offenses may be expunged, your child may face immediate negative effects due to the charges being on his record. He or she may be kicked out of their school or required to go to a special school, which will affect which colleges and universities he or she will be admitted to, which will affect what jobs he or she may seek.
Juvenile criminal proceedings have a tremendous impact on your child’s future, both for the rest of his or her childhood and for the rest of his or her life. It’s not something you want to leave to chance — and it’s not the best opportunity to teach your child a lesson.
Our Team is Ready to Fight for Your Child’s Future
With so much at stake, you want the best possible outcome for your child if he or she is facing any type of juvenile criminal charges. At Ciccarelli Law Offices, your juvenile will be represent by not just one West Chester juvenile defense lawyer, but an entire team. We represent minors across Chester County, including in Exton, Downingtown, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Oxford, Kennett Square, West Chester and throughout the Greater Philadelphia area. Call (610) 692-8700 today to schedule a consultation. At Ciccarelli Law Offices, our Pennsylvania Juvenile lawyers are both passionate in what they do and compassionate in their treatment of their minor and underage clients facing juvenile charges, juvenile arrest, juvenile detention and juvenile probation. You deserve a Pennsylvania Juvenile lawyer that is available when you need him, treats you with respect, and protects your rights vigorously. Based in suburban Philadelphia at 304 North High Street, West Chester PA 19380, we make your choice all the clearer with locations throughout the metropolitan Philadelphia Pennsylvania, including Center City Philadelphia, West Chester PA, Malvern (serving Downingtown/Exton PA), Kennett Square PA, Lancaster PA, King of Prussia PA, Plymouth Meeting PA, Radnor and Springfield PA. We represent juvenile clients in Chester County, Berks County, Bucks County, Lancaster County, Delaware County, Montgomery County and Philadelphia.