Depending on the nature of the criminal charges, it is possible that your minor child may be charged as an adult in the state of Pennsylvania. However, the rules that govern the transfer of juvenile cases into the adult penal system are not entirely transparent.
Adult Court System For Homicide Charges
Some juvenile offenders are automatically charged in adult court without any preliminary proceedings in juvenile or family court. These juvenile offenders are often categorized as Direct File Juveniles. Any charges related to murder will be prosecuted in the adult court system, at least initially.
Any child who is aged fifteen or older and commits any of the following crimes while using a deadly weapon in the commission of the crime will be initially charged in adult court. This is known as statutory exclusion.
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
- Aggravated assault
- Robbery of motor vehicle aka Carjacking
- Aggravated indecent assault
Additionally, a juvenile can be charged as an adult if they are charged with:
- Attempting to commit any of the crimes listed above
- Solicitation to commit any of the crimes listed above
- Being in conspiracy to commit any of the crimes listed above
If a juvenile aged 14 or older is charged with a felony, the juvenile court may use its discretion to determine if the case warrants a transfer to the adult penal system. Usually, the juvenile court will conduct a hearing to determine the benefit to the public interest if the case in transferred to adult criminal system. The court must consider factors such as the child’s attitude toward treatment programs and their potential for rehabilitation.
If a juvenile offender is aged 14 years and uses a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony, there is a presumption in the Pennsylvania penal system that the public’s best interest will be served by prosecuting the juvenile as an adult. In such cases, the child’s defense team has the burden to prove that the child will benefit from and is a worthy candidate for supervised treatment and rehabilitation.
The DRK Team Is On Your Side
All of the criminal defense attorneys at DRK Lawyers are former assistant district attorneys. We understand criminal cases and defense from both sides of the courtroom. We use our trial experience and knowledge of the government’s tactics to help defend our clients every day in the state of Pennsylvania. If your minor child is facing criminal charges, please contact our team today.