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Juvenile Court vs. Adult Punishment

March 22, 2018

By Van Der Veen, Hartshorn, and Levin

If your child is charged with a crime, there is a big difference between being tried as an adult versus being tried as a juvenile. First of all, whether or not they are penalized in an adult correctional facility will have life-long lasting implications for the obvious reasons of emotional and psychological trauma. Secondly, it is incredibly hard for a felon to find work. We strongly urge you to reach out to an experienced Philadelphia juvenile criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to protect the future of your young loved one before it becomes too late.

Crimes Charged as Adult Offenses

According to 42 Pennsylvania C.S statute 6301, if a child aged 15 or older had a firearm during any of the following offenses or was previously adjudicated delinquent (found guilty of a delinquent act), they will be tried as an adult:

  • Rape;
  • Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse;
  • Voluntary manslaughter;
  • Robbery;
  • Carjacking;
  • Kidnapping;
  • Aggravated assault; and
  • Aggravated indecent assault.

Moreover, any child, regardless of age, who is tried for murder will be tried as an adult in Pennsylvania.

When is a Child’s Juvenile Record Made Public?

  • When records are open to the public: 12 and 13-year-old children adjudicated delinquent for some serious offenses, as well as children 14 years or older who are charged with any felony offense; and
  • When juvenile court is open to the public: When a child 12 years or older is charged with a very serious offense, or if the child is 14 years or older and charged with any felony offense, according to The Pennsylvania Collateral Consequences Checklist.

Juvenile Offenses Carry Serious Fines, Incarceration, and Other Penalties Too

People with felony convictions cannot vote, cannot receive financial aid for college, cannot own a firearm, and cannot participate in other various aspects of society. When a child is tried in juvenile court, they do not receive the life brand of felon. Additionally, certain offenses committed by juveniles are not made public. However, make no mistake–being tried as a juvenile can still carry serious implications for your child. Certain juvenile offenses can result in the following depending on the type of crime a juvenile is found guilty of, their age, and their past criminal history:

  • Employment opportunities and ability to obtain professional licenses;
  • Public housing;
  • School access;
  • Higher education access;
  • Military access;
  • Being put on a sex registry list;
  • Immigration status;
  • Driver’s license;
  • Firearm ownership;
  • Ineligibility for expunged record if charged with certain sex offenses. For other adjudicated delinquent juveniles, their record is expunged five years after their sentence has been completed.

A Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer is Here to Help Today

Whether your child is charged as an adult or in juvenile court may determine their entire future. Similarly, their potential sentencing for either a juvenile crime or adult felony will have serious ramifications, and it is essential to prove their innocence or negotiate for a heavily reduced sentence. The Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim have successfully handled all types of juvenile cases, and are prepared to take on yours today.



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