If your juvenile child or loved one is arrested in certain circumstance, the prosecutor can choose to try the juvenile as an adult. When the a juvenile is tried as an adult, if convicted, the juvenile will be sentenced as an adult, meaning real prison time. If your juvenile child or loved one is being tried as an adult, contact Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney Brian J. Zeiger, Esquire. Mr. Zeiger is experienced in handling criminal cases where the prosecutor charges the juvenile as an adult.
If you have a juvenile as an adult case, you will hear the term Direct File Juvenile (DFJ). DFJ means the prosecutor skipped the step of charging the child as a juvenile then trying to get the case moved to adult court. Instead, the prosecutor filed the matter directly in adult court.
When this happens, you want your criminal defense lawyer to file a motion for decertification. At a decertification motion Mr. Zeiger, your criminal defense attorney, is asking the judge to rule the juvenile should be treated like a juvenile by the system. When you win the decertification motion the case is transferred back to the juvenile division, and the sentencing issues disappear.
The prosecutor can also take a case slated as a juvenile prosecution and have the case moved to adult court. In those cases the prosecutor files a certification motion. In the certification motion, the prosecutor is saying to the court, even though this case does not qualify to be directly filed as an adult case, we believe the matter should be treated like an adult case because the juvenile has a history of criminal behavior and the current case is serious. Further, the benefits of the juvenile system for accountability, rehabilitation, treatment and supervision, will not work for this juvenile, and accordingly, the person should be treated like an adult.
Almost always, the best course of action is to have a criminal defense attorney argue for the case to remain in juvenile court. In juvenile court, the judge’s powers are limited to supervision until the time the juvenile turns twenty-one. Second, even if taken away from the family and sent to a placement facility, almost all of the placement are far nicer than any jail facility.
The only benefit from the adult system is that the juvenile will be afforded a jury trial, whereas in the juvenile system, no such option exists. In the adult system, Mr. Zeiger can use his full arsenal of criminal defense techniques, like he would in any other case.
Contact the Philadelphia Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorneys at the Zeiger Firm now for a free consultation at 215.546.0340. Mr. Zeiger is available now to discuss your decertification or certification issues.