Juvenile Court Unit
The Juvenile Court Unit is responsible for prosecuting all delinquency cases heard by the Judges assigned to Juvenile Court.
The matters handled by the unit constitute a wide spectrum of cases including: theft, arson, robbery, burglary, criminal mischief, driving under the influence and assault. The unit is also responsible for 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.
The unit is also generally responsible for the prosecution of cases that originate in adult Criminal Court, which are subsequently transferred to Juvenile Court pursuant to the “decertification” process.
Any juvenile over the age of 14 but under the age of 18 must be charged as an adult. The Juvenile Act (Act 33) requires individuals between the age of 15 to 18 who have used a deadly weapon during the commission of a murder, rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated assault, robbery, robbery of a motor vehicle, aggravated indecent assault, kidnapping, voluntary manslaughter and the attempt, conspiracy or solicitation of one of the above, are excluded from the Juvenile Court system and must be charged as an adult.
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.