Bucks County, PA Juvenile Crimes Defense Attorney
When your child or young loved one stands accused of committing a crime, you want to protect them as much as you possibly can. Mistakes made early in life can continue to haunt a child or teenager well into his or her adult years, creating a marked disadvantage in matters of education, employment, and other important opportunities. A record can prevent your child from being hired for jobs or considered for academic scholarships, and can even hurt their social growth and personal development due to harsh stigmas and attitudes about juvenile delinquency.
When your son or daughter’s future hangs in the balance, you can’t afford to gamble on the matter quietly resolving itself: you need the guidance, support, and advocacy of a knowledgeable defense attorney who has specific experience handling juvenile charges.
Types of Juvenile Charges in Pennsylvania
At Young, Marr & Associates, our legal team comes prepared with more than 30 years of practical experience representing thousands of clients charged with a variety of misdemeanor and felony offenses. We routinely work on cases including but not limited to:
- Drug Possession
- Theft and Shoplifting
- Traffic Violations
- Assault (Simple and Aggravated)
- Sex Crimes
- DUI (Driving Under the Influence)
- Homicide and Manslaughter
We understand how stressful and frightening it can be when your loved one is accused of committing a crime, and we strive to help alleviate that anxiety by guiding you and your child through each and every step of the judicial process with compassion and respect. The Bucks County juvenile defense attorneys of Young, Marr & Associates will fight tirelessly on your child’s behalf, and pledge to strive toward the best possible outcome.
How Does the Pennsylvania Juvenile Justice System Work?
In Bucks County, child and teenage defendants are processed through a very different system than their adult counterparts, from the courts they attend to the records they may ultimately receive. Having a basic understanding of how Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice system works can help you and your child feel more confident and relaxed as you prepare for the proceedings to come.
What is Considered a Juvenile in the State of Pennsylvania?
Under Pennsylvania law, a juvenile is typically a person between the ages of 10 and 18. However, juvenile courts can have jurisdiction over offenders until they reach the age of 21.
How Are Juvenile Offenses Graded?
In some cases, these offenses are considered to be “delinquent acts” rather than crimes in the traditional sense. In simple terms, delinquent acts are acts which would be considered crimes if the defendant was an adult. If found guilty, the defendant is considered to be “adjudicated delinquent,” which is not the same as being convicted of a crime.
In other cases, juveniles (and adults) can be charged with something called a “summary offense.” Unlike delinquent acts, summary offenses are considered crimes. However, at one step below misdemeanors (which are one step below felonies), they represent the lowest and least severe rung of the criminal grading ladder. Under 30 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 923, the fines and sentences for summary offenses are as follows:
- 4th Degree (least severe): $25 fine
- 3rd Degree: $50 fine
- 2nd Degree: $100 fine or maximum 20-day sentence
- 1st Degree (most severe): $200 fine or maximum 90-day sentence
Examples of summary offenses include:
- Unlawful Use of Paintball Guns (§2707.2)
- Criminal Mischief, damages under $150 (§3304)
- Trespassing (§3503)
- Disorderly Conduct (§5503)
- Underage Tobacco Use (§6306.1)
- Underage Drinking (§6308)
- Using a Fake ID (§6310.3)
What to Expect if Your Child Has Been Charged as a Minor
After a juvenile is arrested, they may either be returned to their home, or held in detention. If your child is sent home, a probation officer will arrange a future meeting to talk about the case (unless the offense was very minor, in which case he or she will have their charges dismissed after successfully completing a Diversion or First Offender Program). If your child is detained, they will be held for up to 72 hours before attending a Detention Hearing.
The next step is generally the Adjudicatory Hearing, where the D.A. will present the case against your child, including evidence and calling witnesses. Therefore, it is especially important to have a defense attorney for this stage of the process. The juvenile will either be adjudicated delinquent as mentioned above, or the charges will be dismissed.
If adjudicated, the next step is the Disposition Hearing, which is similar to sentencing for adults in that the judge will decide what penalties to impose. The juvenile may either go straight to probation, or be required to spend time in a special facility before being released for probation.
Can Juveniles Be Tried as Adults?
In circumstances involving very serious crimes, it is possible for juveniles to be tried as adults. In Pennsylvania, juveniles can be charged as adults for murder at any age.
Our Bucks County, PA Juvenile Crimes Defense Lawyers Are Here to Help
To set up a completely free and confidential legal consultation about your child or loved one, call Young, Marr & Associates today at (609) 755-3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania, or contact us online.
NO JAIL TIME
Commonwealth v. "H" (DUI case)
Client was charged with three separate DUI cases calling for mandatory minimum imprisonment of 90 days on each case. Client was advised to seek immediate intensive alcohol counseling. Client was sentenced to 1 year of house arrest after serving 3 days in the county prison.
Commonwealth v. "C" (Felony drug/Firearms case)
Client was charged with felony Delivery of drugs and illegal gun possession and was facing a mandatory 3-6 year prison sentence in the State prison system. Client was sentenced to one year of house arrest.
Commonwealth v. "S"
Client was charged with simple assault, domestic. After a hearing where evidence and testimony was presented, the entire case was dismissed by Judge Leonard Brown.
State of New Jersey v. "H"
Charges for young man charged with second degree aggravated assault were downgraded to third degree and he was accepted into the County Pretrial Intervention program with charges to be dismissed and record expunged after one year of misconduct free behavior.
OUR CRIMINAL DEFENSE TEAM INCLUDES TWO FORMER DISTRICT ATTORNEYS
We have decades of experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors, and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Anyone facing charges involving a criminal offense can expect to experience a heightened degree of emotional turmoil, for themselves, as well as their family members. Our team of highly qualified criminal law attorneys and expert legal support staff are committed to providing each of our client’s with the compassion and understanding they deserve, as well as an aggressive plan for representation at an affordable price.
As former prosecutors, we have a balanced and in-depth understanding of the criminal justice system and how the prosecution prepares cases. In addition, we have long-standing experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
At Young, Marr and Associates, when we say “experience matters,” we mean it. Our lawyers, which include two former prosecutors and a former senior deputy district attorney bring more than three decades of criminal law experience, handling more than 10,000 criminal cases. It is precisely that experience that allows us to achieve outstanding results for our clients facing DUI, traffic, felony and misdemeanor charges in state, federal and juvenile courts.