What Can Happen When a Juvenile is Arrested for a Serious Crime in Pennsylvania

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | May 12, 2023 | 0 Comments

An 18-year-old Pennsylvania man was recently arrested and charged with raping another juvenile while the two were in a relationship in 2022. Because the alleged rapes occurred before the defendant turned 18, he was charged as a juvenile. Charges include rape, sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, and indecent assault.

Juvenile Justice in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, criminal cases involving juvenile defendants are typically treated very differently than those involving adults. Juveniles, for example, are not entitled to jury trials. If convicted, they are “adjudicated delinquent” instead of “found guilty.” Their cases are subject to shortened time frames, and in many cases, their trials are not open to the public (though felony cases involving juveniles over the age of 14 usually are).

Steps in a Juvenile Criminal Case

One of the first things that often happens after a juvenile is arrested in Pennsylvania is an intake process that includes a formal “assessment” by a probation officer. The purpose of the assessment is to develop a Case Plan that will be used by the court and juvenile probation personnel as the prosecution moves forward.

There are four ways a juvenile case might proceed after an arrest.

  1. The case could be dismissed.
  2. It could result in what is called “Informal Adjustment,” meaning the juvenile is allowed to return home and must follow the probation officer's instructions for up to six months, after which the charges will be dismissed.
  3. The case could proceed, but proceedings could be suspended if the juvenile agrees to the terms of a probation plan, which may last for up to six months and may be extended for up to six more months. If the juvenile complies with the terms, the case will be closed. Both the district attorney and the Court must agree before this option can move forward.
  4. The case can move forward to a formal court hearing to decide whether or not the juvenile will be adjudicated delinquent.

What Happens if a Juvenile is Adjudicated Delinquent

If the juvenile is adjudicated delinquent, there will be a disposition hearing to determine what the consequences will be. These can include probation, in which case the juvenile will be allowed to return home, or placement, in which case the juvenile will be detained at a juvenile residential facility for a specific period of time.

Most juvenile residential facilities in Pennsylvania are private, “non-secure” facilities; generally speaking, only a small percentage of juveniles who are adjudicated delinquent are sent to the secure Youth Development Centers operated by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.

Parent or Guardian Rights When a Juvenile is Arrested

Parents are typically allowed to be present when their child is being questioned by police. They may also share information with their child's attorney but need to keep in mind that the attorney's job is to represent the interests of the child, not the parents.

How the LLF Law Firm Can Help Your Child

If your child has been arrested and is facing any kind of a charge, you and they need the help of an attorney who is experienced with juvenile justice issues in Pennsylvania. Our Criminal Law Team and the LLF Law Firm Juvenile Justice Team have been representing young people arrested in Pennsylvania for years. We have a strong understanding of the law, the procedures, and how the system works. We can help you understand what is going on with your child, can work to negotiate favorable outcomes with probation officials, and, where necessary, will go to court and fight for your child's rights.

If your child has been arrested in Pennsylvania on any charge, don't delay – call our Criminal Law Team as soon as possible at 888.535.3686 or reach out online to the LLF Law Firm Juvenile Justice Team and schedule a confidential consultation.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

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.