Common Juvenile Crimes in Philadelphia
Juveniles crimes are those committed by someone under the age of majority. The specific age of majority under criminal law varies between states, although it is often 18 years of age.
Generally, juveniles can be charged with the same offenses as adults. Common offenses committed by juveniles include:
- Shoplifting or petty theft
- Violent crimes, such as assault
- Possession of drugs or alcohol
- Sexual offenses
The main difference between the two systems is the sentencing options available to the court. The juvenile justice system emphasizes rehabilitation. It offers alternative sentencing options such as counseling or education programs and sends defendants to a juvenile detention center rather than a jail or prison.
If your child is facing criminal charges as a juvenile, you need expert legal counsel that will ensure they are treated fairly through the criminal system. Any mistakes could have long-lasting impacts on your child's life. Call 267-491-9111 to talk to schedule a free consultation with an attorney at D'Intino Law Firm, LLC today.
Juveniles Tried as Adults in Pennsylvania
When a juvenile defendant commits a crime, they are usually then tried as a juvenile. In certain circumstances, however, their case can be transferred to the adult system.
The specific criteria for this vary between states. Relevant factors may include:
- The type of offense the defendant is charged with
- The seriousness of the allegations
- Whether the defendant understood the criminality of their conduct
- Whether the defendant is a repeat offender
The decision to transfer a juvenile case to the adult system can be made automatically as a result of the relevant legislation or at the discretion of the prosecution or judge. And once a juvenile defendant has been tried as an adult, any future charges will also be dealt with in the adult system.
When a juvenile case is dealt with in the adult system, the defendant is exposed to harsher penalties usually reserved for adults. It also excludes them from other sentencing options, such as counseling or education programs offered to juvenile offenders.
Collateral Consequences of a Philadelphia Conviction for a Juvenile Offense
In addition to the penalty imposed by a court, there can also be collateral consequences for defendants convicted of juvenile offenses.
A criminal conviction can disrupt a defendant's schooling, especially if they serve time in juvenile detention. A conviction can also affect their access to education more generally. Some schools may not accept students with a criminal record and many colleges ask applicants to disclose any juvenile convictions.
While many people believe juvenile criminal records “disappear” once someone becomes an adult, this isn't the case in many states. For example, potential employers and landlords often have access to juvenile records when running background checks. The armed forces also require applicants to disclose any juvenile convictions.
Law enforcement and courts may also access juvenile records when dealing with an adult offender, which can increase both the category of offense they are charged with and the severity of their sentence.
Convictions for certain offenses as a juvenile may also require a defendant to register as a sex offender or restrict them from owning a firearm well into adulthood.
Why Hire a Philadelphia Juvenile Offense Attorney
For these reasons, you should schedule a free consultation with a juvenile offense attorney at D'Intino Law Firm, LLC if you have been charged with a criminal offense. The law that applies to juvenile defendants is unique and it helps to find an attorney experienced in dealing with the juvenile justice system. Most importantly, they can advise and assist you to ensure you are tried as a juvenile defendant, rather than as an adult. Call us today at 267-491-9111.