If your child faces a Norristown delinquency petition or is in other trouble with the law, the outcome could follow them for the rest of their life. Committing or facing accusations of a delinquent act can make it difficult to complete their education with their peers and continue to college or trade school.
If your teen is facing charges, you may want to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. Juvenile criminal defense lawyer David C. McKenzie III of the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., can help you navigate the process. While hiring an attorney is not required in these cases, you should do everything you can to keep your child’s rights protected. We can also provide aggressive counsel and guidance from their arrest through their disposition hearing.
Call us today at 610-680-7842 for a no-obligation case evaluation with a juvenile criminal defense lawyer in Norristown.
Why Should I Hire a Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney in Norristown?
The Pennsylvania juvenile court system is set up in a way that should protect teens who break the law. It funnels them into rehabilitation and treatment, rather than into the penal system. Because of this, some families do not hire an attorney to handle their child’s case. They see no value in it, since their teen will not go to prison or have a permanent criminal record.
Even without the possibility of jail time, some of the penalties for teen offenders can affect them for decades to come. For this reason, we highly recommend seeking the help of a lawyer who regularly handles juvenile criminal defense cases. Some of the possible consequences of committing a delinquent act may include:
- Confinement in an institution for delinquent teens;
- Inability to qualify for federal student loans, grants, and scholarship programs;
- Denied enlistment in any branch of the military;
- Problems finding a job;
- Not being able to finish high school with their peers;
- A decreased chance of completing a degree program or a trade school program; and
- A higher risk of legal trouble as an adult.
We will review your teen’s case and offer insight into the likely outcome. We can work with probation officers and the judge to minimize the interruption in your child’s education, church, and extracurricular activities, maximizing their opportunity to finish high school as planned and attend college or learn a trade. No matter the situation, we can develop an aggressive defense strategy that will work to mitigate the effect of this arrest on your teen’s future.
Understanding the Juvenile Criminal Justice System in Pennsylvania
In general, Pennsylvania avoids giving children and teens a criminal record. To this end, juveniles do not face charges of committing a crime. Instead, the courts bring a delinquency petition against them and they face charges of committing a delinquent act. Even if the judge determines they are guilty, they will not have a conviction on their record. They will, however, become a “delinquent child” and face a disposition hearing where the judge announces their sentence.
Under state law, the only exception to this is when an older teen commits a serious felony or other major crime. When this occurs, the district attorney will likely try them as an adult through the criminal justice system. This is usually only possible for teens age 14 and older who face accusations of violent crimes, such as murder, rape, armed robbery, or other similar offenses. If you believe your teen may face adult charges, you need us on your side as soon as possible. We will go to work on your teen’s criminal defense, protecting their rights and attempting to convince the courts to let the juvenile justice system handle their case.
The Possible Consequences of a Juvenile Delinquent Act
In general, the juvenile justice system is not punitive. Instead, it aims for rehabilitation and teaching. Some of the penalties for committing a serious delinquent act, however, can seem like a punishment. In the worst-case scenario, they can remove the teen from the family who loves them and prevent them from graduating high school and beginning college with their peers.
Most teens adjudicated as delinquent in the juvenile justice system receive only probation. This comes with very strict terms and conditions, but allows the child to remain at home with their family, in their school, and actively engaged in their community. They may need to undergo regular drug testing or pay restitution to the victim, but these conditions are much easier for both the parents and the teen to deal with than confinement at a juvenile detention facility or other possible consequences.
The Role of a Norristown Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer
We understand that no one wants their child to be a “juvenile delinquent.” The stress and doubts during this process can be overwhelming. We can look into your teen’s case and help you understand the potential outcomes. We will also build a solid defense strategy on their behalf, giving the judge a compelling reason why your child does not deserve to face consequences that would interfere with their education, getting a degree, or applying for jobs in the future.
Some of the most common cases we handle center around delinquent acts such as:
- Drug possession, including marijuana;
- Underage drinking;
- Drunk driving;
- Shoplifting and theft;
- Hacking and other computer crimes;
- Reckless driving and other serious traffic crimes;
- Property damage;
- Disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace; and
- Sex crimes.
Contact a Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Teen’s Case
At the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., we know what it takes to win a case in the Pennsylvania juvenile justice system. We will use that knowledge to help us achieve the most positive outcome available for your child. If you have questions about what to expect if they issue a petition of delinquency for your child, or if they are already facing these accusations, we can help.
Call 610-680-7842 to speak with a Norristown juvenile criminal defense attorney today.