Montgomery Juvenile Defense Lawyer

Defending a juvenile in a criminal matter requires a different approach than that of working with adults. Juvenile offenders and their families often have little experience with the criminal justice system and are worried about how their case might impact everything from college prospects to the emotional impact of sentencing. Juvenile crimes often require the expertise of Montgomery County juvenile defense lawyers. 

While part of the larger judicial body, the Pennsylvania juvenile justice system has different rules entirely. Worried parents with a child who has offended or young clients unsure of where to turn after a major mistake need a Pennsylvania juvenile defense lawyer on whom they can rely. 

Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. has helped many juvenile clients reclaim their lives after being involved in a nefarious legal entanglement. We are adept at cultivating legal defense strategies that not only help to resolve the case with an ideal legal outcome now, but also, consider the offender’s future as well. 

How Juvenile Defense Cases Are Different from Adult Cases in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania juvenile defense cases differ from adult cases in many ways. Juveniles do not have the right to a jury trial as their adult counterparts do. Most criminal defense lawyers fight for their clients through “bench trials,” which allow judges to determine the outcome of the case. There are two options most commonly pursued in juvenile defense cases: deferred adjudication and consent decree. 

Deferred Adjudication

Deferred adjudication is characterized by a guilty plea that is not entered in the system, therefore reserving an adjudication of delinquency. While the guilty designation has not been entered, the deferred adjudication is part of the offender’s record. Throughout the supervision period, the offender is required to complete various tasks set by the judge. Upon completion of these tasks, the judge in the case will dismiss it and the juvenile won’t have a record. 

Consent Decree

A consent decree is comparable to the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. When offered this option, juvenile offenders have the option to complete the program and avoid a conviction. There is no need to offer a plea at a consent decree hearing. The designation helps juvenile offenders to avoid the negative connotations associated with pleading to a crime. 

We help families who have lost hope in the legal system and aren’t sure where to turn. At Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C., we provide the right kind of guidance and encouragement to get juvenile offenders back on track. Most juvenile judges have a vested interest in working with those offenders who want to turn their lives around. Recommending the right steps to make that happen is pertinent in juvenile cases. We are experienced in working with prosecuting attorneys to come with a deferred action plan that satisfies all involved parties. This might include participation in an after-school program, community service, mental health counseling and rehabilitation. 

Pennsylvania Juvenile Defense Cases and Direct Filing

There are some juvenile cases that fall under the “direct file” option in Pennsylvania. Offenders over the age of 15 and involved in crimes using a deadly weapon must be brought as “direct file” offenses in adult court. Crimes that fall under this category include: 

  • Rape
  • Aggravated sexual offense
  • Murder
  • Robbery
  • Grand theft auto
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter

Juveniles with past criminal records, whether or not they used a deadly weapon in the commission of the new crime, must be direct filed for the above offenses as well. However, it is important to note the law allows for flexibility in this area. For example, an experienced Pennsylvania juvenile defense attorney will know to file a decertification petition to move the case back to juvenile court, arguing that age, maturity and mental capacity played a role in the offense. 

The right juvenile defense attorney will mount a vigorous defense to ensure the least amount of impact on a juvenile offender’s future. We understand that youthful mistakes or actions made out of immature thinking can be remedied much more effectively without an official criminal record.  

Request a Free Consultation with a Montgomery County Juvenile Defense Attorney

If you find yourself in need of a skilled Pennsylvania juvenile defense lawyer, the team at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. is prepared to help. We have more than 65 years of experience in criminal defense and have helped to secure a brighter future for numerous families struggling to navigate the Pennsylvania legal system. 

We are a top-tier team of attorneys with numerous awards under our belt, including U.S. News—Best Law Firms 2021 and AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®. To schedule a free consultation with a Pennsylvania juvenile defense lawyer, call 215-798-7081 or contact us online today.