Berks County Juvenile Lawyer
Juvenile Defense Attorneys in Reading PA
Juveniles don’t always make the best decisions and sometimes they can be pressured into committing criminal acts that could have far-reaching consequences. As their parent, you may be rightfully worried about how this arrest will affect their future and your family life. You may also be concerned about the financial aspects of your child’s arrest or the legal liabilities you may face as their parent. When your child is arrested and charged with committing a criminal act in Berks County, Pennsylvania, the steps you take immediately after their arrest could have a significant impact on their future.
Get the Lawyer and the Results You Need Now
At Ciccarelli Law Offices, our Berks County juvenile defense attorney will provide aggressive legal representation for your child during this difficult time. You can contact our office by email or by phone at (610) 692-8700 or 877 529-2422. From the moment you step into our office, you can rest assured knowing your child has a team of skilled juvenile defense lawyers on their side. We know the juvenile court system in Berks County and have been representing juveniles accused of committing criminal acts for decades.
If your child has been detained for committing a criminal act, their future is undoubtedly in jeopardy. They could face lengthy time in a detention center or they could be prevented from educational and employment opportunities as a result of their actions. Children and teenagers need someone on their side who can provide experienced legal representation during this time. Without a lawyer, your child could face harsh penalties and consequences and could even be tried in an adult court of law.
Juvenile Crime in Reading, Berks County & Pennsylvania
Berks County is the 10th most populous area in the state of Pennsylvania and nearly a half million residents call Berks County their home. It is part of the larger Philadelphia-Reading-Camden combined statistical area and its most populous city is Reading, Pennsylvania. Berks County is also home to the Old Order Mennonite community and it shares borders with Montgomery County, Chester County, and Lancaster County.
The Juvenile Probation Office in Berks County is located in Reading, Pennsylvania. It is an arm of the Juvenile Court of the 23rd Judicial District of Pennsylvania and it is responsible for holding juvenile offenders accountable by monitoring and enforcing Court orders and probation schedules. On any given day, the Juvenile Probation Office is busy supervising 1200 juveniles across the county and working with school districts to ensure compliance.
According to the 2016 Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Dispositions, there were 514 total substantiated juvenile offenses in 2016 alone. Of those juvenile offenses, the majority of those crimes were property crimes (166). 137 criminal acts were committed against people and 137 were other crimes, such as firearm offenses or probation violations. Only 75 arrests were made in Berks County that year for juveniles who were accused of drug crimes.
The majority of juveniles that are arrested are placed in detention centers or sentenced to probation for minor delinquent acts, such as truancy, possession of alcohol, curfew violations, or probation violations. While these acts may not pose a threat to the general public, they can result in serious penalties and consequences for your child, especially if they’ve been arrested multiple times.
The majority of Juvenile Court dispositions in Pennsylvania involve males. In fact, in 2016, 73.4% of all juvenile offenders were males between the ages of 10 and 18 – with the majority being 17 years of age. In addition, 98.4% of all the juvenile offenses that were transferred to criminal proceedings were males.
It is often a wrong assumption that juveniles who commit criminal acts are not in school or have flunked out of school. In Berks County and throughout Pennsylvania, a surprising 87.4% of juveniles were actively enrolled in school at the time of their disposition.
Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyers in Berks County
At Ciccarelli Law Offices, our Berks County juvenile criminal defense lawyers have extensive experience representing juveniles who have been accused of committing crimes,
- Underage drinking
- Disorderly conduct
- Assault or battery
- Possession of marijuana
- Drug sales, trafficking, or possession
- Bullying or other school offenses
- Traffic violations
- 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
Throughout Berks County, we’ve assisted juveniles who have been detained for committing delinquent acts, including those living in: Reading, Wyomissing, Blandon, Shillington, Birdsboro, Kutztown, Whitfield, Hamburg, Lorane, Pennside, West Reading, Reiffton, Fleetwood, Boyertown, Sinking Spring, Laureldale, West Wyomissing, Amity Gardens, Jacksonwald, Riverview Park, Mount Penn, Mohnton, Kutztown University, Kenhorst, and Womelsdorf.
The Berks County Juvenile Justice Process Overview
The Reading, Berks County juvenile justice system is complex and confusing for parents. In general, the process will include:
- Arrest – when your child is arrested in Berks County, they may be released to your custody or detained in a juvenile detention center. Either way, the intake process will begin after their arrest and a Juvenile Probation Officer (JPO) will begin their assessment.
- JPO Assessment – The JPO will conduct an assessment, which will include interviewing you, your child, and the victim of the criminal act to determine how to proceed.
- Detention Hearing – If your child is placed in a detention center, then they must schedule a detention hearing within 72 hours to determine if your child is to remain in detention or if your child can return home.
- JPO Determination – the JPO will make a determination on how your child’s case will proceed.
- Dismissal – not enough evidence to pursue action and there is no further involvement with the juvenile court
- Informal Adjustment – your child will return home and follow JPO rules for up to 6 months. Afterwards, the charges will be dismissed.
- Consent Decree – your child’s case will proceed and a delinquency petition will be filed, however, these proceedings will be suspended if a probation plan can be agreed upon by District Attorney, the courts, and your child.
- Adjudication – a formal delinquency petition will be filed to have your child’s case heard in a juvenile court of law at an Adjudication Hearing
- Adjudication Hearing – this hearing is similar to a criminal trial. A District Attorney will be present for the prosecution, your child’s juvenile defense lawyer will be present and a judge will preside. Unlike adult trials, however, there is no jury of peers. Instead, the judge will have the final say
- Disposition Hearing – if your child is found to have committed the delinquent act, the judge will hold a disposition hearing to decide what should happen to your child. Your child may be placed in a detention center, a residential home, or returned home on probation. The judge may order that your child pay restitution to the victims or fines to the court as well. The conditions of your child’s probation will also be outlined during this hearing.
If your child is placed in a detention center during the juvenile criminal process, specific hearings must occur within a specified time frame. This is to prevent your child from being detained unnecessarily or without due process.
- Detention Hearing – must occur within 72 hours of initial detainment
- Adjudication Hearing – must occur within 10 days of a petition or formal charges being filed
- Disposition Hearing – must occur within 20 days of their adjudication hearing
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?
Expungement and Juvenile Convictions
A juvenile record does not simply disappear when your child turns 18. In fact, you must make a formal petition to the court to have your child’s record expunged. Your child must show the Pennsylvania courts that their life is on the right path and that they have learned from the mistakes of their past. If your child was adjudicated delinquent, then their juvenile records can be expunged five years after their discharge from Court supervision as long as expunging this record would not threaten public safety. When you file a motion with the chief Juvenile Probation Officer, you must include:
- Your name
- Date of birth
- Docket number
- Charges against you
- Name of law enforcement agency
- Police report reference number
- Date of arrest
- Disposition of charge
- Reasons for expunging record
How a Berks County Juvenile Defense Attorney Can Help
If your child is facing criminal charges or has been arrested and sent to a juvenile detention center, it is important to know that you are not alone. An experienced Berks County juvenile defense lawyer can help your child through this difficult time and protect their future along the way. Your attorney will fight to keep your child in the juvenile justice system and in their own home during their probation. Without an attorney, your child could face escalated charges in an adult criminal court of law. Contact Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610) 692-8700 immediately to begin building a solid defense. We have successfully defended juveniles throughout Pennsylvania who have been arrested and accused of a variety of crimes. We represent juvenile clients in Chester County, Berks County, Bucks County, Lancaster County, Delaware County, Montgomery County and Philadelphia.