Consideration as Adult instead of Juvenile
In Pennsylvania, minors can be tried as adults if they have been accused of committing either specific violent crimes or summary offenses.
Juvenile Violent Crimes
No matter what age a person is, if they are charged with murder in Pennsylvania they will be tried as an adult.
If a teenager was 15 or older and used a deadly weapon such as a gun, or if they were previously found to have committed a violent act, they will be tried in the adult criminal justice system for crimes that include:
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
- Aggravated assault
If a juvenile is alleged to have committed a summary offense, Pennsylvania’s least serious offense level, they can also face the same court system that an adult would as well as similar punishment if they are found guilty.
Summary offenses include underage drinking, disorderly conduct, some traffic offenses and shoplifting items priced under $150. If a minor is found guilty but does not comply with their punishment for the summary offense, their case can be moved to juvenile court.
Moving A Case To Juvenile Court
Because the goal of the juvenile court system is rehabilitation, whenever possible an attorney will try to have a minor’s case moved to a juvenile court.
To have a juvenile’s case moved out of an adult court and into a juvenile court, their attorney will need to ask for a decertification hearing.
At this hearing, the judge will take into account factors that include the child’s age, the kind of act they allegedly committed, the impact the crime had on the victim and the community, and whether or not the youth has the potential to be rehabilitated in, for example, a juvenile detention facility.
How A Lawyer Will Help
If your child is arrested, you need an attorney who will stand by you every step of the way, work hard to discredit any evidence – and work with you to determine the best course of action.
If a minor’s case is going to be tried in an adult court, whenever possible your attorney will try to have the case moved to a juvenile court.
Pennsylvania Minors Law
Laws for minors are described and defined in The Pennsylvania Code under Title 18, Chapter 63. Read the code here.
Questions? Contact us today.
Based on the evidence, Fienman Defense will try to get juvenile charges dismissed or lowered. Should the case go to a hearing or trial, we will fight to present the strongest defense possible for your situation.