All juveniles are presumed indigent. If a juvenile appears at any hearing without counsel, the court shall appoint counsel for the juvenile prior to the commencement of the hearing.
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Juvenile court hearings are held at the following address:
Bucks County Justice Center100 N. Main St3rd Floor (Court Room #310)Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18901
Generally, they are not open to the public unless the juvenile was 14 years of age or older at the time of the alleged conduct and the alleged conduct would be considered a felony if committed by an adult. Or if they meet the criteria of 42 PA C.S. Sec. 6336 e (2).
It is recommended that people dress as formal as possible for Court. All clothing should be clean and free of rips or tears. Clothing must not be too tight or revealing. Clothing should not contain any obscenities or references to drugs or alcohol.
If a juvenile is detained (placed in a secure facility or a shelter care facility), they will have a detention hearing within 72 hours to review probable cause and decide whether the juvenile needs to remain in detention. If the juvenile remains in custody, they need to have a Pre Adjudication Conference or an Adjudicatory Hearing within 10 days. If a juvenile is from custody, a pre-adjudication conference is scheduled when the court schedule allows. Juveniles released on house arrest will be given priority, if applicable.
Disposition of a juvenile still in custody must take place within twenty days. If released from detention, they will return to court when the probation officer has all the evaluations or reports and when the court schedule permits. This usually occurs within 30 to 45 days but is not a mandatory time frame.
If the juvenile shall remain in detention due to their risk to the community or themselves.
An Adjudicatory Hearing is a hearing to determine guilt or innocence on the alleged charges. If the juvenile is to have committed any Misdemeanor or Felony charges, the case will proceed to the Disposition which may occur at this hearing or at a later date.
The Disposition Hearing determines if the juvenile is in need of treatment, supervision, or rehabilitation. If the Court makes this finding, then the juvenile is adjudicated, delinquent. The Court must then decide if the juvenile can be supervised in the community on Probation or if the juvenile should be placed.
Bucks County Juvenile Court Services receives referrals from four sources;
When the case is referred by a local police department, the officer completes a Juvenile Complaint and forwards it to the Juvenile Probation department to initiate the process. Once received, the referral is reviewed by the District Attorney's Office to ensure that the police are charging the juvenile correctly. An intake with the juvenile and his/her parent/guardian is then scheduled within three weeks of receiving the referral. The purpose of the intake interview is to begin the process of deciding how the case will be handled by gathering background information. This information will be used to determine the most appropriate disposition for the juvenile, the victim and the community.
The juvenile’s social security card, birth certificate and health insurance card.
All juveniles who have been arrested for Misdemeanor or Felony offenses may be fingerprinted or photographed. If it is found that they committed an offense and adjudicated delinquent, it is a requirement.
Payments can be made either in person at the Clerk of Courts office located on the first floor of the Justice Center located at 100 N. Main Street, or by mail. Please include the juvenile’s name and juvenile docket number (ex: CP-10-JV-01-2020).
Yes, the Court may determine the appropriateness of parents/guardians being responsible for payments of court costs and/or restitution.
In situations where a juvenile is placed outside of the home, parents/guardians will be required to pay child support for the amount of time said juvenile is in placement.
Non-payment referrals are sent to the Juvenile Probation Department by the Magisterial District Judges when juveniles do not comply with a lawful sentence issued by a Judge for various summary offenses. The only exception would be for the offense of Truancy (Violation of Compulsory Attendance Required 24 PA.C.S 13-333(b)2).
A sentence imposed by a Magisterial District Judge may include court costs, fines, and community service. If a sentence is not fulfilled, the Magisterial District Court will forward a Juvenile Certification Form to Juvenile Court Services. Juvenile Court Services will then send a notification to the juvenile informing them of their options to either pay the amount in full or complete a specific amount of community service. If the juvenile fails to complete either of those options, a petition may be filed with the Juvenile Court as per 42 PA C.S. 6301 which may result in an adjudication of delinquency.
In order to expunge or destroy records, a motion must be initiated, which is to take the form of a proposed Court Order, and then approved by the Court. Contact the Bucks County Clerk of Courts Office for information regarding expungements.
Juveniles can remain under supervision until the age of 21.