What Are Types of Juvenile Domestic Violence Crimes?
November 15, 2023
Domestic violence can take many forms and can happen to anyone regardless of race, sex, gender identity, religion, or sexual orientation. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, any abusive behavior used to gain power over and control another person qualifies as domestic violence. It can be physical or emotional, psychological, economic, or technological. Sometimes teens are accused of domestic violence, such as:
- Threatening someone with harm
- Online harassment or stalking
- In-person harassment or stalking
- Physical assault – hitting, punching, kicking, shoving, pushing, etc.
- Sexual assault or coercion
- Criminal restraint
How Is Juvenile Domestic Violence Handled in Pennsylvania?
The Pennsylvania Juvenile Court System deals with all minors charged with committing a crime in Pennsylvania. However, depending on the severity of the charges, a case may be moved to the adult court system if the juvenile court believes it is in the public interest and the child is at least 14. If the use of a deadly weapon was involved to commit rape or sexual assault, a minor over 14 may be tried as an adult.
When a minor is arrested and charged with domestic violence, they are first taken to a juvenile detention center. They must be given a detention hearing within the next 72 hours. Minors suspected of having committed domestic violence may have an adjudication hearing next, where the court determines if the child is delinquent. If found delinquent, a disposition hearing may be held to decide the penalty for the crime. The juvenile court may consider factors such as the severity of the offense, the injuries caused by the offense, whether or not the minor has a prior record, and if they threaten public safety, family support, and any other relevant history.
Defending Against Charges of Juvenile Domestic Violence
Domestic violence charges are serious, but not all allegations of domestic violence are valid. An experienced attorney can build a solid case to defend against domestic violence charges using evidence such as police reports and witness statements to show that any harm caused was unintentional. Self-defense may have been an element of the reported incident, in which case it can be demonstrated that the minor used reasonable force to protect themselves or another family member. The charges could be dismissed entirely if the authorities made procedural errors during their investigation.
The outcome of juvenile domestic violence charges can be significantly affected by the quality of the defense attorney defending the case. It is crucial to have an experienced lawyer who will investigate the facts of the matter and fight for your rights.
West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyers at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes Fight for the Rights of Juveniles Charged With Domestic Violence
Domestic violence charges can have severe consequences for teenagers. For more information, contact our West Chester criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Heather J Mattes. Call 610-431-7900 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we represent clients in Chester County, Bucks County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.