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Elements of a juvenile delinquency petition in Philadelphia


Some teenagers in Philadelphia make impulsive decisions from time to time due to the many influences they encounter in everyday life. These decisions can have both short and long term consequences. One of these consequences is juvenile charges. Though these juvenile crimes are treated a little differently than adult crimes, the consequences can be just as serious.

The juvenile delinquency process is started in court with a petition and there are certain elements that must be in the petition. It must state the juvenile's name and birthdate and the names and birthdates of anyone else who may have participated in the crime. Then it must state a summary of the facts of the alleged offense and any laws that were allegedly broken.

The names and addresses of the juvenile's parents must also be included. If the juvenile is in custody, the date and time of an expedited hearing must be stated. Finally, there must be a statement that it is in the best interest of the juvenile and the public to proceed with the delinquency proceedings.

The petition simply starts the process though. There will be future hearings and the juvenile will have an opportunity to defend against the charges. Juveniles are innocent until proven guilty. However, if the juvenile is convicted he or she could face both short and long-term consequences. These consequences could have negative effects on their ability to get into schools or obtain employment in the future.

Many juveniles are charged with crimes in Philadelphia each year. The whole process starts with the petition, but it is how the process ends that is important for the juvenile. The consequences of a conviction are serious, but there may be defenses available for the juvenile depending on the facts. Attorneys understand these consequences and potential defenses and may be able to help protect one's rights.

Source: Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Judges' Commission, "Pennsylvania Juvenile Delinquency Benchbook, Chapter 7" accessed on November 9, 2015

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