Case Studies: Juvenile Offenses

High School Volleyball Player Avoids Delinquency in Favor of Diversion

The parents of a senior high school volleyball player retained the Lento Law Firm's Criminal Defense Team after authorities charged their daughter with an underage drug offense. The district attorney had the option of pursuing a proceeding for juvenile delinquency, confinement, and treatment or maintaining the proceeding in court against a minor under age eighteen. The charge alleged that school staff had discovered a mix of prescription drugs, including Percocet and Vicodin, in a handbag on the front seat of our client's vehicle in the school parking lot. The school staff member claimed that he had opened our client's unlocked vehicle to turn off its headlights. When noticing the handbag on the front seat, the staff member opened the handbag to identify its owner to alert the owner to the security risk of the unlocked car. When the staff member discovered a clear plastic bag of mixed pills, the staff member turned the handbag in at the school office, where administrators called the police. Our client and her parents authorized us to challenge the search to suppress the incriminating evidence while seeking diversion for our client's assessment and treatment. Our client acknowledged that stress and pain from volleyball competitions had led her to accept teammate offers of prescription medication taken from households. After the trial judge took our motion to suppress under advisement, the district attorney agreed to support diversion rather than pursue conviction or delinquency. Our client received the medical help she needed, remained on the volleyball team, avoided contested delinquency or court proceedings, and gained dismissal of the charges after completing diversion conditions.

Middle School Student Defeats Delinquency Charge over Handgun Issue

The parents of a middle school student retained the Lento Law Firm's Criminal Defense Team after school officials accused the student of bringing a handgun to school, and prosecutors brought delinquency charges seeking the student's confinement in a juvenile facility. The parents acknowledged to our Criminal Defense Team that their student had faced challenges in middle school, where students and staff regarded him as troubled and a troublemaker. The parents maintained that their student was trying to overcome the effects and stigma of physical and mental abuse by the student's biological father, whom officials had convicted for that abuse and who had lost his parental rights. The student's stepfather subsequently adopted the student, but the student remained angry, defensive, and belligerent toward peers and school authorities. The parents and students, though, assured us that the student had not brought a handgun to school and did not recognize the handgun, which school officials claimed to have discovered in his locker. Our Team retained an investigator to trace the handgun and get witness statements or information on its origin and ownership. That investigation confirmed that the parent of another student in the school owned the handgun, leaving an inference that the other student or one of his friends had planted or hidden the handgun in our client's locker. Our lead defense attorney presented that evidence in the juvenile hearing, at which we also presented evidence of the school's indifference toward our client's needs and refusal to provide the requested behavioral intervention. The juvenile judge dismissed the proceeding on our client's exonerating evidence.

Youth Avoids Delinquency Confinement Through Negotiated Resolution

The parents of a fifteen-year-old youth retained the Lento Law Firm's Criminal Defense Team to defend the youth in a juvenile delinquency proceeding arising out of alleged property damage, theft, and trespass at a neighbor's residence. The neighbor also alleged our client's threats and assault. Our client and his parents acknowledged that our client had spent a lot of time at his neighbor's residence and in its workshop out back. The neighbor had initially welcomed our client's company to watch sports on television in the residence and to teach him woodworking skills in the workshop. But the neighbor had grown to dislike our client's attitude and so had limited our client's access to the residence and workshop. Our client maintained that he had entered the neighbor's residence again only to retrieve the gaming devices he had left there but that the neighbor had confronted him and ordered him out without the devices. They had argued, and a scuffle ensued in which our client succeeded in removing his devices. He admitted that he might have broken a lamp and damaged a wall and door in doing so. The neighbor subsequently alleged that our client had stolen and damaged workshop equipment, which our client denied. Our client and his parents acknowledged that the neighbor might have substantial evidence supporting each of his allegations. They further desired to remove the youth from the neighborhood to his grandparents' farm. We negotiated a dismissal of the delinquency proceeding, which the neighbor supported, on the assurance that the youth would be moving to his grandparents for the summer and likely attending school there in the fall.

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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.

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