As an experienced Delaware County juvenile law lawyer in Boothwyn, I can answer the questions you have whenever your son or daughter is arrested, detained, or otherwise comes in contact with law enforcement personnel.
Michael T. Malarick is an experienced Delaware County juvenile law lawyer located in Boothwyn, Pennsylvania. The law office of Michael T. Malarick handles juvenile law cases in and around Delaware County, Philadelphia, Boothwyn, Upper Darby, Springfield, Garnet Valley, Ridley, Aston and more. Call for a free initial consultation from our juvenile law attorney today.
A juvenile, anyone under 18 years of age, is not found guilty of crimes in juvenile court. Rather, the young individual is adjudicated delinquent.
A juvenile delinquent procedure begins with either a Written Allegation by a police officer or private citizen, an arrest, or a certification that the child failed to comply with a sentence from a summary offense. The Written Allegation contains the identity of the child, the offense, and a summary of the alleged violations. The Written Allegation is submitted to the DA who will approve or disapprove it without unreasonable delay. If a private citizen’s Written Allegation is disapproved, the DA states their reason thereon and returns the document to the citizen. The Written Allegation will also state that it is in the best interest of the child and the public that proceedings be brought and that the child is in need of treatment, supervision, or rehabilitation.
If your child is detained, a detention hearing should be held within 72 hours. Notice of this hearing is to be supplied to the juvenile, the parents, the attorney, the DA, the juvenile probation officer, and the victim. The hearing is informal but orderly,with the DA presenting evidence to support the Written Allegation and the detention.
The next step will be an Intake Conference scheduled by the juvenile probation office to determine what further action, if any, to be taken. A Bench Warrant for arrest will be issued if the child fails to appear at the conference. Prior to the filing of a Petition, the juvenile probation officer may informally adjust the allegations if it appears that adjudication would not be in the best interest of the child or public.
A Petition is filed by the DA and essentially contains the information from the Written Allegation. The petition is served by mail on the juvenile, parents, and attorney. Once the petition is filed, the DA, upon request, will provide any evidence that has been gathered, including confessions and statements.
The parties can enter into a Consent Decree any time after the petition has been filed and before an Order has been entered. A Consent Decree is usually available to a first time non-violent offender. The Consent Decree will be in effect no longer than 6 months and is generally the lightest sentence of supervision.
At the Adjudicatory Hearing, the DA has the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the juvenile committed the delinquent act. If the child has been detained, the hearing will be held within 10 days. Otherwise, the hearing will be held within a reasonable time. The Court’s ruling on the offenses must occur within 7 days of the hearing. If there is a finding of delinquency, the court will hold a Dispositive Hearing to determine whether the child, needs treatment, supervision, or rehabilitation.
For more information, call our experienced juvenile law lawyer today for a free initial consultation.
Other Practice Areas
- Delaware County Child Custody Attorney
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