The Pennsylvania juvenile justice system aims to protect young adults from the trouble they got in as children and teens. However, a delinquency petition can have severe consequences that prevent your child from getting an education you planned for them. They could even have to spend time in an institution for delinquent teens.
These accusations are not something to take lightly. A juvenile criminal defense lawyer in Pottstown can help you navigate the system to ensure your teen’s rights remain intact.
Criminal defense lawyer David C. McKenzie III is ready to go to work for your family. The McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., can provide aggressive counsel and represent your teen from their arrest until their disposition hearing and beyond.
Call us today at 610-680-7842 to learn more.
Do You Need a Pottstown Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney?
The Pennsylvania juvenile court system focuses on providing teens with rehabilitation and treatment. The goal is to prevent them from going into the penal system as adults. Delinquent teens will not go to county jail or state prison or have a permanent criminal record after they reach adulthood. Because these stakes seem low, not everyone believes they need a lawyer for juvenile court. However, having a knowledgeable legal professional on your side ensures your child gets a fair opportunity to prove their innocence.
Even though your child will not face jail time for their arrest, some of the penalties can still change their social, emotional, and educational trajectory. Some of the consequences of committing a delinquent act could include:
- Mandatory confinement in a facility for delinquent teens;
- Ineligibility for federal student loans, federal grants, and some college scholarship programs;
- Ineligibility for any branch of the military;
- Difficulty finding a job;
- Disqualification from playing high school sports;
- Missing prom, graduation, and other important events with their peers;
- A lower chance they will complete a college degree or a trade school program; and
- A significantly higher risk of committing crimes as an adult.
If you decide to enlist our help with your teen’s case, we will review the situation and explain the probable outcomes. If they have never been in trouble and the accusation is relatively minor, we can usually work with the judge to minimize the disruption in their education and extracurricular activities. This will give them the best chance to finish high school with their classmates and continue on to higher education.
Even if the police accuse your teen of a more serious offense, we will work with your family to develop a plan of action that takes your child’s needs and dreams into account. We can often utilize an aggressive defense strategy to clear their name or mitigate the effect of their juvenile delinquency status.
Understanding How the Juvenile Criminal Justice System Works in Pennsylvania
Juveniles charged with crimes in Pennsylvania typically do not face criminal charges or receive any other mention of the arrest on their permanent criminal record. Instead, they face a delinquency petition. A conviction does not go on any sort of record that follows them into adulthood. Instead, the judge will name them a “delinquent child” and they will need to attend a disposition hearing to learn about the legal consequences of their actions.
There is only one exception to this process. State law allows prosecutors to charge some older teens who commit murder, rape, armed robbery, or other serious felony offenses as adults. If the district attorney believes this is necessary and the court approves it, certain teens may face criminal charges and the possibility of criminal consequences if convicted.
If the police accuse your teen of a serious, violent felony, there is a possibility they will face criminal charges. We recommend giving us a call as early in the process as possible. We will ensure their rights remain protected and fight to keep their case in the juvenile justice system.
The Potential Consequences of Committing a Juvenile Delinquent Act
In general, most delinquent teens receive probation. Their probation may have a number of conditions, such as regular drug testing, paying restitution, or completing community service. This allows the teen to remain in the same school and keep living with their family. They can continue attending church and participating in other community activities.
Teens accused of committing serious or violent delinquent acts may face confinement in a juvenile detention facility or other major consequences. While we will fight to try to avoid this type of situation, some teens—especially repeat offenders—may face significant time away from their family, high school, and community activities.
The Role of Your Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer
It is hard to face the thought that your child may be adjudicated a “juvenile delinquent” and face unknown consequences. This process can put a lot of stress and anxiety on the entire family. If you enlist our help on your teen’s case, we will take the time to help you understand what to expect each step of the way, and we will explain the possible outcomes your child is facing. We will represent your teen during every court appearance and fight for the best possible resolution in their case.
Contact a Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer in Pottstown About Your Case.
At the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., our team can help your family navigate the juvenile justice system. We will walk with you throughout the process, fighting to get the best possible results in your teen’s case. We will answer any questions you have, help your teen face the petition of delinquency, and represent them in front of the judge.
Call 610-680-7842 today to talk to a Pottstown juvenile criminal defense attorney from the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., today.