Teenagers in Philadelphia often can become bored or curious and want to try something new. Many times in these situations they make rash decisions without thinking about the consequences. They partake in underage drinking or experiment with different drugs. Teenagers also sometimes get in fights to resolve their differences and may bring a gun to these fights without thinking about the serious consequences that can stem from that decision.
Recently, a couple of teenagers apparently had an altercation over a girl. Their differences were not resolved and they allegedly got into another fight at their school in West Philadelphia. The two were separated and school officials spoke with each of them in separate rooms. One student told school officials that the other one had a gun. They attempted to search that 17-year-old student's backpack, but he refused to let them. The police were called and they allegedly found a loaded gun in his backpack. The student now faces criminal charges from the incident and may also be expelled from the school.
The penalties in the juvenile law system differ from those in the adult system, but they can still have long-term consequences for the juvenile. The goal of a juvenile sentence is to rehabilitate as oppose to just punish. The judge keeps the best interests of the child in mind when determining the sentence. Also, many juvenile offenses may be sealed when the juvenile becomes an adult.
However, a juvenile still has to put the offense on any school applications or job applications until they become an adult. Also, as in the case above, the juvenile may face expulsion from school, which will also have to go on school applications. So, the long-term consequences often times are worse than the short-term ones. Juveniles do still have defenses to the crimes they are charged with, though, and are considered innocent until proven guilty. There also may be diversion programs available to help keep the charges off their record.
Juveniles in Philadelphia who are charged with a crime may have both short-term and long-term consequences, if convicted. There are defenses to juvenile crimes though. Attorneys understand the defenses that may be available and may be able to help guide a teenager through the juvenile law system.
Source: Philly.com, "Teen arrested with loaded gun at West Philly school," Solomon Leach, Jan. 17, 2014