What is a “Disposition Hearing” in Juvenile Court?
Individuals who have not yet reached the adult age of 18 are considered juveniles in the state of Pennsylvania. At this age, young people sometimes make poor decisions that can result in criminal charges. When that happens, they need a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to guide them through the court process and their disposition hearing.
Juvenile Court is different from the adult court in many ways. Juvenile court can serve the same functions as the adult court with the exception of the general terminology being different. Montgomery County PA has a “disposition hearing” that the teen will attend, and should do so with legal representation. This is one of the reasons that obtaining a lawyer who practices Montgomery County Juvenile law is important if the family is to navigate the juvenile system with the least damage done to the child who is involved in the juvenile system.
Attorney Basil D. Beck III is a trusted criminal defense attorney in Montgomery County, PA, who is passionate about serving juveniles. His priority is to help minors navigate the court system so they can have a chance at a promising future free of their past mistakes. Parents who seek legal counsel for their underage children may call 610-239-8870 for a consultation.
How Does a Disposition Hearing Work?
If a child is initially found to be delinquent, a disposition hearing is scheduled. A Disposition Hearing is equivalent to the sentencing phase of a criminal court hearing for adults. At this hearing, the court hears evidence regarding the type of treatment, supervision and/or rehabilitation that would best suit the needs of the young defendant. Factors the court considers when fashioning a disposition for the child are ones that strive to:
- Provide balanced attention to the protection of the community;
- Provide the juvenile with the accountability of the offenses committed
- Provide for the development of competencies to enable the child to become a responsible and productive member of the community.
It’s important to understand that the juvenile court system is not intended to punish young individuals but instead to provide them with resources to rehabilitate them. The consequences they face in the juvenile justice system may shape them into responsible adult members of the community. Nonetheless, it’s essential to work with a trusted defense attorney who understands the types of dispositions that are appropriate for specific charges so your juvenile is justly served by the system.
What Dispositions are Possible in Juvenile Court in Pennsylvania?
There are multiple dispositions a juvenile can receive during their hearing. The dispositions given are dependent on the circumstances associated with the charges. A trusted juvenile defense attorney will fight to reduce the charges and penalties their client faces so they do not have to endure severe penalties. Common juvenile dispositions include:
- Community service
- In-home probation
- Electronic monitoring
- Group home placement
- Secure detention
Notice how the penalties get more severe as we go down the list. A child adjudicated delinquent may also obtain any of the following services:
- Psychological or psychiatric services
- An educational evaluation
- Individual and/or family counseling
- Substance abuse treatment
- and/or medical care.
When your child has been ensnared in the Montgomery County juvenile system, it’s important to be aware that the Disposition Hearing is a crucial stage of the juvenile proceeding and one to be taken with the utmost seriousness. It’s equally important that the parent(s) or guardian(s) enlist the services of a Montgomery County Juvenile lawyer to smooth the path toward the best result for the child.
Trust a Pennsylvania Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney
If your child is facing criminal charges and is scheduled for a disposition hearing, there’s no time to waste. Contact a trusted juvenile defense attorney who can help you through the process. Basil D. Beck III has more than 20 years of experience winning cases for juveniles and adults across the state of Pennsylvania. He cares about providing a personalized approach to criminal defense and will work tirelessly on your behalf.
To schedule a consultation to learn about your child’s charges, call 610-239-8870 or complete our contact form.