ASERT Does Not Offer Crisis Services
If you or someone you love is experiencing mental health distress or thoughts of suicide please call or text 988 for support.
A person who is 10-17 years old and breaks the law goes into the Pennsylvania Juvenile Justice System. This person is also called a “juvenile”. There are many differences between the Juvenile Justice System and the Adult Criminal Justice System. This document shows the Juvenile Justice Process in PA.*
* This guide does not take the place of advice from a lawyer.
If a juvenile breaks the law in the community, they will be arrested. If a person who is a juvenile breaks the law in school, the school will send a “referral” or report to the juvenile justice system.
After the arrest or referral from the school, the juvenile will have an intake meeting with a probation officer. At the intake interview, there are four things that can happen:
If a juvenile is put in a detention center, they will have a detention hearing within two days. This is to see if they still need to be in detention.
At the adjudication hearing, a judge will decide if a juvenile should be adjudicated delinquent or if the charge should be “dismissed” or go away. An adjudicated delinquent means the juvenile is found guilty of a delinquent act and needs of treatment, rehabilitation or supervision.
If a juvenile is adjudicated delinquent, there will be a hearing with a judge. This will decide what happens next:
This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.