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Juvenile Delinquency Defense

Lehigh Valley Criminal Defense Attorneys

Juvenile Defense Attorneys in Easton Pennsylvania, Serving Lehigh & Northampton County

Our Juvenile Defense Attorneys Represent Defendants in Allentown, Bethlehem & Easton and throughout the Greater Lehigh Valley

Our Juvenile Defense Attorneys have successfully represented Juveniles in the Lehigh & Northampton Court of Common Pleas and Successfully won appeals on behalf of Juveniles in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.  We understand that Juvenile cases are different and require special handling.

While Juvenile Charges mirror criminal charges and based upon the same criminal statutes, there are a number of important differences.  The goal of the criminal justice system remains to punish crimes.  The stated goal of the Juvenile Justice system is to rehabilitate.  The different goals make Juvenile Defense unique.

Unlike Criminal Convictions, where the imposition of a sentence is presumed upon a finding of guilt, the Juvenile Justice Systems does not impose penalty simply because a Juvenile may have committed a crime.  Like Criminal Courts, to impose a penalty on a Juvenile, the Juvenile Court must first determine that the Juvenile committed a crime.  But, unlike Criminal Court, this alone is not enough.  To impose a penalty, the Juvenile Court must also determine that the Juvenile is in need of correction.  This is an important distinction that is often overlooked by Juveniles and Criminal Defense Attorneys alike.

Our Juvenile Defense Attorneys have successfully represented Juvenile in all levels of the Pennsylvania Court System and are one of the few Law Offices in Easton to represent Juveniles in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  If your son or daughter is involved in the Juvenile Justice System, call us today. 

Important Concepts in Lehigh Valley Juvenile Cases

Informal Adjustment

The process of dealing with a allegations against a Juvenile without instituting Juvenile Court Proceedings.

Consent Decree

The process of instituting Juvenile Court proceedings but in a way that eventually allowing for the dismissal of charges

Admission

An admission is akin to a guilty plea in Criminal Court

Finding of Fact

A Juvenile Court determination as to whether or not the Juvenile committed the alleged crimes. A finding that a Juvenile committed a crime is not, alone, enough to impose penalty.

Adjudication

A finding that, not only did the Juvenile commit a crime but that he or she is also in need of corrective action.

Detention

In our view, Detention is simply a fancy name for Juvenile Prison

First

Law Firm to successfully challenge the Northampton County requirement for Admissions in order for a Juvenile to be considered for a Consent Decree.

Supreme Court

One of few Juvenile Defenders in Easton to win Juvenile Cases in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Stages of a Juvenile Court Proceedings in Lehigh & Northampton County

1. Arrest and/or Preparation of Petition

Juvenile cases begin with either an arrest or the filing of Juvenile Delinquency Petition, which states the crimes the Juvenile is alleged to have committed.

2. Meeting with Juvenile Probation

The Juvenile will be contacted by Juvenile Probation and asked to come in for an interview. During the interview, family and educational background will be covered along with the underlying basis for the charges. Juvenile Probation will also consider the Juvenile for a Consent Decree or Informal Adjustment at this time.

3. Pre-Adjudication Conference - PAC Hearing (Northampton County Only)

If the Juvenile is not offered an Informal Adjustment, the first Juvenile Court hearing in Northampton County will be a PAC Hearing. At a PAC hearing the case will either result in a Consent Decree or an Admission or it will be listed for an Adjudication Hearing.

4. Adjudication Hearing

If the case has not resolved via a diversionary program or admission, the case will continue on to an adjudication hearing. An Adjudication Hearing is akin to a trial in the context of a Criminal Case. Witness must be produced by the Commonwealth to offer evidence against the Juvenile.

5. Disposition Hearing

A Disposition Hearing is akin to a sentencing in Criminal Court. The Disposition Hearing(s) will occur where the Juvenile resides rather than where the crimes are alleged to have been committed. At the Disposition Hearing, the Juvenile Court must decide what, if any, corrective action is needed. The Juvenile Court is free at this stage to impose no penalty at all or to place to Juvenile in detention. Unlike in adult court where a Defendant is sentenced and never appears in court again, In Juvenile Court the Juvenile will have Disposition Hearings every 3-6 months until the Court finds that he or her is no longer in need of corrective action.

Only

Local Criminal Defense Law Office to Subpoena a sitting Judge in a criminal case.

First

Law Office to achieve release on bail for a client incarcerated on a Northampton County Detainer

Only

Local Law Firm to have a Prosecutor assert fifth amendment when questioned under oath in our case.

First

Law Firm to utilize independent blood test results in a Northampton County DUI case to result in a dismissal of charges.

Only

Law Firm to achieve the emergency release of Northampton County inmates during the COVID-19 Crisis pro bono & first overall.

First

Law Firm to successfully challenge the Northampton County ARD Programs' lack of individualized hearings.

Juvenile Court FAQs in the Lehigh Valley

Commonly asked questions by parents and children involved in the Juvenile Justice System in Lehigh & Northampton County

Can a Juvenile be charged as an adult?

Yes, under certain circumstances a Juvenile may be charged as an adult. Generally the crimes must be violent felonies to charge a Juvenile as an adult.

Who does a lawyer represent, me or my parents?

A Juvenile Defense Attorney represents the Juvenile, not the parents, regardless as to who pays the lawyer fees. The ethical answer to this is very clear yet both parents and Criminal Defense Attorneys often misunderstand this concept. Our office will it very clear that the Juvenile is the client. We do, of course, involve parents in the decision making process but with the understanding that all final decisions belong to the Juvenile.

Can a Juvenile be sent to prison?

No, of course not, we are enlightened and call such places with bars Juvenile Detention… Yes, a Juvenile can be incarcerated and as the recent Kids for Cash scandal highlighted, this happens much more frequently than people realize. The majority of Juvenile Detention Centers remain privately owned and continue to heavily market to the “appropriate” entities and individuals.

Can a Juvenile be released on bail?

No, a Juvenile will either be detained without bail or not detained whatsoever.

How long can a juvenile be detained or imprisoned?

A Juvenile can be detained until the age of 21 or up to the statutory maximum period of supervision for the crime, whichever is lesser. However, in practice, Juveniles have less protection than adults when it comes to sentencing. Adults must generally be sentenced to comport with sentencing guidelines which are much lower than statutory maximums.

While sentencing guidelines may often mean that imprisonment is required in an adult case, it also often limits the period of incarceration a Judge can impose. The sentencing do not restrict a Judges ability to sentence in Juvenile cases. Therefore, while there is never a requirement for incarceration in a Juvenile case, there is likewise little protection from keeping a Juvenile incarcerated longer than an adult would be incarcerated for the same offense.

Let us help you!

If you need any legal assistance in the Lehigh Valley, please feel free to contact us.  Our Easton Law Office will get back to you within one business day.  Or, just call us now.

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