Philadelphia Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney
Juvenile courts and their processes are different from adult criminal court - and juvenile criminal offenses can have long-standing consequences that overlap with criminal law. Parents of children facing juvenile delinquency allegations are well-advised to contact a Philadelphia juvenile criminal defense attorney. Tauber law represents individuals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the New Jersey area.
Top-Rated Juvenile Offenses Attorney in Pennsylvania
Having your child arrested or facing criminal allegations is unexpected, unsettling, and unnerving for parents and grandparents. Courts have established juvenile courts that deal exclusively with minors accused of crimes, but this does not mean the outcome will be positive. In order to protect the best interests of your child and their future, contact an experienced juvenile defense lawyer at Tauber Law as soon as possible. We can provide aggressive representation and advocate for the best outcome possible.
Tauber Law has more than 25 years of extensive courtroom experience handling criminal matters, including juvenile offenses cases. We handle all types of charges including theft, assault, drug charges, DUI, computer crimes, and more. We have the experience to help you and your family, no matter what you are facing. If you are looking for a juvenile law firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or the New Jersey Area, contact us.
Who Is Classified as a Juvenile Offender in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, a juvenile is anyone between 10 and 17 years old. However, being the age of a juvenile does not guarantee their legal matter will be handled in juvenile courts. Anyone - of any age - charged with murder will be tried as an adult. Anyone 15 years or older who commits certain crimes (robbery, rape, and kidnapping) and has previously adjudicated delinquent (juvenile convictions) will be tried as an adult.
Types of Juvenile Criminal Offenses in NJ & PA
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Drug possession
- Gang activity
- Possession of Stolen Property
- Possession of a Weapon
- Reckless Endangerment
- Curfew violations
- Disorderly conduct
- Curfew violations
- Disorderly conduct
- Sex crimes
- Tobacco offenses
- Underage drinking
- Vehicle theft
Penalties for juvenile adjudication can include probation, fines, and time in juvenile detention centers or residential treatment facilities.
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Pennsylvania & New Jersey Juvenile Justice System
- Offenses are referred to as “delinquent acts” rather than crimes”
- The process of determining whether a juvenile is “guilty” does not involve a jury trial.
- A judge or a lawyer appointed by a judge (called a “hearing master”) will hear a case and make a decision.
- Juvenile court hearings are closed (not open to public
- Rather than being found “guilty,” juveniles are “adjudicated delinquent.”
Juvenile Offenses Grades in New Jersey and PA
Offenses committed by juveniles that would be crimes if the defendant was an adult are officially called “delinquent acts.” Being found the equivalent of “guilty” is called “adjudicated delinquent,” however, it is not the same thing as being convicted of a crime.
Separate from delinquent acts and outside of the jurisdiction of juvenile court, juveniles may be referred to criminal court for prosecution. Here, they may be given a “summary offense” which is considered a crime. These summary offenses are less serious than felonies or misdemeanors, typically offenses like disorderly conduct or underage drinking. These are subject to fines and sentences established in 30 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 923:
- 1st degree: a fine of $250 or imprisonment not exceeding 90 days.
- 2nd degree: a fine of $150 or imprisonment not exceeding 20 days.
- 3rd degree: a fine of $75.
- 4th degree: a fine of $25.
Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Court Process
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Differences Between Adult and Juvenile Offenses in Pennsylvania
When is a juvenile tried as an adult or treated as a juvenile in the legal system? A minor of any age can be charged with murder as an adult. A minor 15 or older can be charged as an adult for numerous serious crimes, including:
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated indecent assault
- Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
- Robbery of a motor vehicle
Whether or not your child’s legal issue will be handled in the juvenile court system or referred for prosecution as an adult, having an experienced juvenile criminal defense lawyer advocating for their future is imperative. When possible, it is always better for a minor’s case to be handled in the juvenile system, where recidivism rates (the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend) are much lower.
The court has different motivations for handling crimes for juvenile individuals than for adults. As minors, juveniles also have different rights than adults have in the criminal system. For example:
- Juvenile cases are decided by a judge, and juveniles do not have the right to a jury trial (unless tried as an adult)
- Juveniles do not have the right to preliminary hearings
- Juveniles cannot be released on their own recognizance or be bailed out of jail.
Juveniles still maintain constitutional protections, like the right to a competent juvenile defense attorney (counsel) and the right to protect against self-incrimination.
Potential Statutory Penalties for Juvenile Offenses in Pennsylvania
- Summary offenses: Detailed above, including a fine of up to $300 and up to 90 days in jail.
- 3rd-degree misdemeanor: Up to one (1) year in jail, and a fine of up to $2,000
- 2nd-degree misdemeanor: Up to two (2) years in jail, and a fine of up to $5,000
- 1st-degree misdemeanor: Up to five (5) years in jail, and a fine of up to $10,000
- 3rd-degree felony: Up to 7 years imprisonment, and a fine of up to $15,000
- 2nd-degree felony: Up to 10 years imprisonment, and a fine of up to $25,000
- 1st-degree felony: up to 20 years imprisonment, and a fine of up to $25,000
Possible Collateral Consequences of Juvenile Charges in Philadelphia, PA
The impact of an adjudicated delinquent can be profound and long-lasting. Teens and young adults may face a wide range of collateral consequences including:
- Difficulty being admitted to university or college
- Difficulty enlisting in the military
- Difficulty obtaining a driver’s license (with a certain drug, alcohol, and driving offenses)
- Challenges in obtaining financial aid
- Difficult obtaining public housing
- Challenges in obtaining professional licenses
- Challenges obtaining employment
- Issues with immigration
While it is true that a delinquency adjudication is not a criminal conviction under Pennsylvania law, the potential impact of an adjudication should not be downplayed or overlooked.
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Possible Outcomes to Juvenile Cases in PA
A judge in a juvenile adjudication hearing has numerous options for how to resolve a case:
- Community service
- Participation in counseling or drug or alcohol treatment
- Placement in a residential treatment facility, foster care, or group home
The focus of the juvenile court system is well-intentioned: treatment, rehabilitation, supervision, and welfare rather than punishment. However, this does not mean that consequences and impacts will not be lasting. A juvenile hearing should be taken very seriously - having a lawyer advocate for the best outcome can make a meaningful difference in your child’s future.
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What Our Clients Say
Why Hire Tauber Law Juvenile Offenses Attorney for Juvenile Crimes Charges Defense
Stakes Are High
Tauber Law is not new to criminal defense and advocating for juveniles. We understand how Pennsylvania courts handle juvenile matters, and we have a professional rapport with the judges, courts, and other attorneys.
You need an advocate who is experienced, capable, and proven. The outcome and results matter. When you hire us, you are choosing someone who will fight. Our juvenile defense lawyers know what to ask and what to do.
We Treat Our Clients Like Family
At Tauber Law, we don’t want our clients to have an adjudicated delinquent decision, and we treat our clients just as we would a member of our family. We know that the consequences of adjudication are painful for everyone, almost always emotionally and very often financially.
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Will I have a criminal record as an adult due to a juvenile offense in Philadelphia and New Jersey?
Not exactly. The equivalent to a conviction in juvenile criminal court is an “adjudication of delinquency.” While adjudications are not technically a criminal record, the record can be used by courts in making decisions on bail amounts, whether to grant probation and in determining a felony sentence. Felony courts will consider past criminal conduct as well as juvenile adjudications of delinquency when making decisions regarding sentencing
Can I have an expungement of a juvenile record in Pennsylvania?
Expungement following a juvenile conviction is possible via a court motion, with various waiting times depending on the nature of the offense. However, a juvenile convicted as an adult for specific serious offenses like murder, kidnapping, or rape, may not be expunged.