Mielnicki & Stiffler, LLC knows how difficult it is for parents when their children are alleged to be delinquent and forced to appear in Juvenile Court. Pittsburgh Juvenile Court Attorney Robert E. Mielnicki and Pittsburgh Juvenile Court Attorney Karissa N. Murphy have significant experience representing juveniles in court proceedings. They have considerable success in convincing judges to resort to alternative forms of justice, if conviction is inevitable.Differences Between Juvenile and Adult Court
The Juvenile Court system is very different from the adult court system. Juvenile Court can be less formal and is more about rehabilitation than punishment. A child is not found guilty in Juvenile Court. If the child is found to have committed acts, which if charged as an adult, would constitute a crime, the child will be found to be delinquent. This can be confusing for parents and children entering the system for the first time. Additionally, the juvenile system has a set of goals that also differ from the adult system. The juvenile system in Pennsylvania is focused on community protection and accountability but mostly, it is focused on the rehabilitation of the child.Common Juvenile Offenses
Juvenile Court Attorney Robert E. Mielnicki and Juvenile Court Attorney Karissa N. Murphy have considerable experience helping juveniles face charges in Juvenile Court. Some of the common charges seen in Juvenile Court are:
- Alcohol Related Offenses
- Aggravated Assault
- Criminal Mischief
- Drug Charges, including Possession and Distribution
- Property Crimes
- Shoplifting (Retail Theft)
- Simple Assault
- Theft Offenses
In Juvenile Court, a greater emphasis is placed on rehabilitating juveniles. Thus, jail or prison penalties are not as common, although some juvenile cases may still result in time in a secured facility. Some of the following penalties are often employed in the juvenile court system:
- Community service
- House Arrest
- Revocation of Driver’s License or Driving Privileges
- Placement in a Secured Facility
- Substance Abuse Programs
Depending on the severity of the offenses, prosecutors may try to convince the Juvenile Court judge to try your child as an adult, which may lead to serious penalties. Pennsylvania has three primary ways in which a juvenile can be tried as an adult. These procedures are found at 42 Pa. Stat. and Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6355 and are summarized below:
First, a judicial waiver may be issued that sends your child to adult court and leads to him or her being tried as an adult. If your child is 14 or older and accused of a felony crime, a judge, after a hearing, may transfer the child to adult court. Also, if your child is 14 or older and accused of an offense involving a deadly weapon, he may be waived to adult court. Finally, if your child is 15 or older and has been previously adjudicated delinquent, she may be waived to adult court to face more serious penalties upon conviction.
Next, there is a statutory exclusion in Pennsylvania for the offense of murder. Therefore, no matter what the child’s age is, if he or she is charged with murder, he or she will be tried as an adult. Additional statutory exclusions exist for other serious offenses.
Finally, if the child was previously tried as an adult, he may be tried as an adult for any subsequent crimes.Mielnicki & Stiffler, LLC can help!
In 1991, the first job that Attorney Robert E. Mielnicki had as an attorney was an assignment to Juvenile Court, where he spent a year, representing more than 1000 juveniles alleged to be delinquent. If your child is facing charges, it is extremely important to act quickly if the court is considering trying your child as an adult. The experienced attorneys at the Mielnicki & Stiffler, LLC know the law and will do everything they can to ensure your child is not unfairly or unjustly tried as an adult.