Defending Your Child's Future

Juvenile law deals with crimes committed by children. In a juvenile case, the crime is referred to as a "delinquent act". Crimes committed by minors are handled in a special court system, rather than a criminal court system. In Pennsylvania a minor is a person under the age of 18. Governmental bodies, including the federal government, states, and cities, prosecute all types of crimes committed by children, from traffic violations to felonies like rape and murder. If your child has been charged with a crime, it is essential that you seek legal counsel from an experienced juvenile defense attorney.

Criminal Defense Team

The criminal defense team at Galloway Monzo is experienced with all types of cases involving juveniles. Attorney Lisa Galloway Monzo previously worked as an Assistant Public Defender, primarily representing juvenile offenders. From 1999 to 2003, Attorney Galloway Monzo served as the Balanced and Restorative Justice Coordinator for Westmoreland County. She was certified by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency as a Balanced and Restorative Justice Trainer and provided education and training for police departments, juvenile justice agencies, juvenile probation departments and schools, as well as reviewing and evaluating existing programs, services and practices of Westmoreland County juvenile justice agencies. She is committed to preserving the rights of our children.

Juveniles Have Some of the Same Rights as Adults

Children involved in juvenile court matters have many of the same as adults if they were accused of a crime. These rights include the right to remain silent, the right to cross-examine witnesses against them, and the right to be represented by an attorney.

Minors convicted of a "delinquent act" are not sent to jail, rather they may be sent to a detention center or group home. Examples of local facilities include Cornell/Abraxas, Outside In, Glenn Mills, and the Westmoreland County Juvenile Service Center. Some juveniles may be sent home under the supervision of a juvenile probation officer. The purpose of juvenile is not so much to punish young offenders, as it is to reform them. The purpose of the juvenile court system used to be to look out for the best interest of the child. Today the juvenile system uses a formula of balanced attention to victims, communities and the offenders.

If a juvenile is found to have committed a crime, he or she is not "convicted," but "adjudicated." If a juvenile is incarcerated for his or her actions, he or she will not necessarily serve the same amount of jail time as an adult convicted of the same offense. Most states require juvenile offenders to be released from custody when they become adults. In Pennsylvania a juvenile adjudication can count as a conviction for future job applications.

Some examples of the types of juvenile crimes we handle at Galloway Monzo are:

  • Underage Drinking
  • Truancy
  • Rape
  • Assault
  • Robbery
  • Drug Possession

Two Tiered System

Pennsylvania has a two tiered system where minors may be charged as an adult for committing a generally enumerated offense. The first tier applies to those 15 years or older who have committed an offense using a deadly weapon. This includes rape, aggravated assault, robbery and other enumerated offenses. In most of these cases the child will be charged as an adult and be subjected to adult punishment.

The second tier exclusion allows for those 15 years and older who have been previously adjudicated of a serious offense and have been charged with another serious offense to be charged as an adult. Some common examples include robbery, car jacking, aggravated assault, indecent assault, assault of a teacher, and assault of a police officer.

Free Initial Consultation

If your child has been charged with a crime, it is important that you deal with a law firm that has experienced, caring defense attorneys that are familiar with the juvenile court system. Choosing the right attorney in a juvenile matter is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. You must trust that the attorney will not only protect the rights of your child in the present, but that the attorney will preserve their future. In Pennsylvania when a child is over 14 and charged with a felony, the proceedings may be open for public record and the adjudication may count as a prior conviction.

At Galloway Monzo, we take a team approach to every case, covering all facts and issues. Contact an experienced Pennsylvania juvenile law attorney today. Call 724-972-0412.