Kids make mistakes, but sometimes a wrong decision can have serious consequences. In Pennsylvania, a record of juvenile delinquency can limit certain educational and job opportunities for your child. If your child or teen is facing is facing these charges, they have the right to legal representation. A juvenile criminal defense lawyer in Willow Grove can help protect their other rights and fight for their future.
David C. McKenzie III of the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., is a former prosecutor who understands how the juvenile court system works in Pennsylvania. He has years of experience fighting for the rights of juveniles and helping families navigate the legal process. Call us at 610-680-7842 today. The consultation is free.
Juvenile Offenses in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, there is a separate court system to deal with juveniles charged with crimes. The juvenile justice system focuses on rehabilitation with the hope of keeping children out of the adult court system in the future. Juveniles do not have to go through a criminal trial, and the legal process moves along faster than it does in the adult system.
In most instances, juvenile courts charge children with a “delinquent act” instead of a crime. Some common juvenile offenses include:
- Underage drinking;
- Disorderly conduct;
- Simple possession and other drug crimes;
- Truancy; and
- Reckless driving.
More serious charges, such as robbery, gang activity, or drug possession with the intent to sell, could lead to stiffer penalties. State rules allow teens who commit certain serious violent crimes to be charged as an adult. These violent crimes include:
- Aggravated assault;
- Kidnapping; and
- Armed robbery.
If you think the court plans to try your child as an adult, you should seek the advice of a criminal defense lawyer right away.
Parents should take any charges of a delinquent act seriously. Even minor offenses can have a negative impact on your child’s life. No matter the charges, it is important to contact a juvenile defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Consequences of Delinquent Acts
If a judge finds that your child committed a delinquent act, they will typically order either probation or placement. The terms of probation usually involve strict requirements based on the needs of the child. Some possible court-ordered requirements include:
- Completing a specified number of hours of community service;
- Attending counseling;
- Complying with a mandatory curfew; and
- Regularly attending school.
If your child committed a serious offense, the judge could place them in a juvenile detention center, residential treatment center, or boot camp for a period of time. The length of time in placement varies depending on the seriousness of the offense and the child’s progress. Placement in a facility could prevent your child from graduating with their peers and may disrupt their plans to attend college.
Long-Term Effects of Juvenile Delinquency
Because the system focuses on rehabilitation instead of punishment, some parents do not take delinquency charges as seriously as they should. However, having a record as a juvenile delinquent can interfere with your child’s life and future plans.
In some situations, your child could face severe consequences, like:
- The loss of their privilege to drive;
- The inability to work in certain industries;
- The loss of their right to join the military; or
- Difficulty obtaining certain student loans or benefits.
If your child has to register as a sex offender, it could affect their reputation and hinder their future endeavors. A felony conviction stays on your child’s record unless it is later expunged.
David C. McKenzie III of the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., understands how difficult a child’s arrest is for the parent and the child. If you are facing this situation, we will fight for your child’s rights and strive to get the best possible outcome for their future.
How a Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer in Willow Grove Can Help
If the police have arrested your child, you are understandably worried. A conviction of a delinquent act can get in the way of your child’s bright future. That is where a juvenile criminal defense lawyer can help. We are here to fight for your child’s rights and pursue the best resolution possible in their case.
David C. McKenzie III of the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., understands the challenges of juvenile criminal cases. He has a long history of successfully defending juvenile offenders in misdemeanor and felony cases in Pennsylvania.
A Lawyer Might Be Able to Help Your Child Get Different Options
Having a lawyer for juvenile court can help you and your child understand what to expect from the legal process. Depending on your case, we might be able to negotiate for lesser charges or work out an alternative agreement that will not disrupt your child’s life as severely. We could argue that your child has the best chance of rehabilitation if they are allowed to remain in your home, continuing to go to school with their peers.
If your child is facing possible placement in a detention facility or the court plans to try them as an adult, these alternative options could protect their future.
Get Answers From a Juvenile Defense Attorney in Willow Grove, PA
As a parent, you likely have many questions. At the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., we are happy to provide the answers you need to decide on your next steps. We will help your child understand the charges, their rights, and the potential outcome the juvenile court process. We will take a look at all the facts of your child’s case to determine the best avenue of defense. Whatever the charges, we will work hard to defend your child and fight for a favorable result.
Contact the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., at 610-680-7842 today for your free case evaluation.