Juvenile Delinquency Services

Any juvenile (a person under the age of 18) who is over the age of 14 but under the age of 18 may be charged as an adult for certain serious crimes such as homicide, robbery, rape, kidnapping, and many others. However, to transfer the juvenile child from adult Criminal Court to Juvenile Court, a motion must be granted in the Court of Common Pleas to decertify the juvenile from adult Criminal Court into Juvenile Court. Penalties for convicted adults are generally more serious in adult Criminal Court than those penalties for the same criminal acts that can be imposed if a juvenile is adjudicated delinquent (found guilty) in Juvenile Court.

Juvenile Court is responsible for adjudicating all delinquency cases heard by the Judges assigned to Juvenile Court. The matters handled there constitute a wide spectrum of cases including: theft, arson, robbery, burglary, criminal mischief, driving under the influence and assault. This Court also determines the transfer of offenders from Juvenile Court to adult criminal court when such a transfer is deemed to be in the public interest. Petitions to transfer juveniles to adult Criminal Court usually involve serious felony cases and juveniles with significant records.

Alternatively, juveniles charged as adults can be “decertified” and transferred back to Juvenile Court whereby the trial occurs in Juvenile Court pursuant to the decertification process.