Berks County Juvenile Offense Attorney

In 2018, the U.S. Congress implemented the Juvenile Justice Reform Act (JJRA), which was the most significant update to juvenile justice since 2002. Some issues the JJRA addressed included eliminating the use of restraints on pregnant girls in custody, allocating grant funding for legal representation, and improving the process of expunging and sealing juvenile records. This Act also made changes to how juvenile offenders are housed when being charged as an adult.

As these federal laws are implemented here in Pennsylvania, the state is also making some changes to how delinquency cases are handled in the juvenile courts. In today's volatile legal environment, is as important as ever for juvenile offenders to retain proper legal representation when needed. Having a criminal defense attorney that regularly works in this area of practice is critical.

Berks County Juvenile Court and Probation Office

Juveniles who are charged with acts of delinquency in Berks County are processed by the Juvenile Court in Reading. This agency is responsible for enforcing court orders, working with the local schools, and compliance with the Pennsylvania Juvenile Justice System's Enhancement Strategy in community safety. This office supervises as many as 750 youths across the county.

The Berks County Juvenile Probation Office handles delinquent youth between the ages of 10 and 17. If a juvenile is arrested by a local police department they are referred to the Juvenile Probation Office and are either released to their parent's custody or placed in juvenile detention. All those who are detained will have a detention hearing within 72 hours.

Legal Counsel and Detention

If the Hearing Master decides the juvenile should remain in detention until further court proceedings, they will be housed at the Abraxas Academy in Morgantown. This is a secure facility capable of accommodating up to 156 youth. All children are eligible to have legal representation from a public defender; however, retaining private legal counsel is strongly encouraged.

Hearings and Penalties

Juveniles will have a hearing that is presided by a Magisterial District Court Judge who may impose penalties. Juveniles may perform community service instead of paying fines. Those placed on probationary supervision are subject to a service fee that ranges from $60 to $120 and fines, court costs and restitution may be ordered. The majority of juvenile offenders that are sentenced to a detention facility are those deemed as habitual offenders or those considered a danger to the community.

Juveniles may be referred to treatment for drugs and/or alcohol when appropriate. Those old enough to drive may have their driver's license suspended. Various alternative sentencing programs are available including the DREAM program and electronic monitoring.

DREAM Program

The DREAM program is an alternative approach for youth that promotes rehabilitation through work in the community, counseling, and more. The program spans six-months and focuses on three areas as follows:

  • Behavior modification
  • Community service
  • Education and prevention

Juvenile Record Expungement and Sealing

An attorney may request that juvenile case records be expunged in these scenarios:

  • A complaint or case was dismissed
  • It has been six months since the “final discharge from supervision under a Consent Decree.”
  • Five years have passed and the individual has not had any subsequent convictions
  • An individual has reached the age of 18 and the District Attorney approves the expungement

Juvenile Court Lawyer in Pennsylvania

Juveniles that are accused of acts of delinquency may face significant penalties and other consequences that may have a negative impact on their future. The Criminal Defense Team at the LLF Law Firm is extremely familiar with the juvenile justice system and offers aggressive representation. Contact the office today for a consultation at (888) 535-3686.

Contact Us Today!

The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.