Juvenile Probation
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Frequently Asked Questions
Fayette County > Juvenile Probation


 Are Hearings open to the public?

Generally they are not open to the public, unless the child 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.

What is the proper attire for court?

It is recommended that people dress as formal as possible for Court.

Do I need to hire a lawyer for court?

A juvenile is entitled to representation by legal counsel at all stages of any proceedings and if he or she is without financial resources or otherwise unable to hire counsel, to have the Court provide counsel for him/her.

What is an Adjudication hearing?

The portion of a hearing wherein the Judge or Master determines if the juvenile committed the crime or any portion of the crime with which he or she is charged.

What are the consequences of being adjudicated delinquent?

Click here for a listing of collateral consequences of contact with the PA Juvenile Justice System

What is a Disposition hearing?

After finding that a juvenile is found delinquent on the acts alleged against him/her, the Court determines what form of treatment, supervision or rehabilitation the juvenile is in need of.

What is a Consent Decree?

An order of the Court which suspends the delinquent proceedings against the juvenile and places the youth under voluntary supervision in his or her home and community, under terms and conditions established by the probation department and agreed to by all parties affected.

What is an Informal Adjustment?

An administratively enacted supervision, typically six months in length and usually has the least amount of conditions, but can be extended for three additional months.

What happens when a juvenile is referred to the Juvenile Probation Department?

After an Intake meeting with a probation officer, the juvenile and their guardian there are several directions a case could go. The determination is based largely on the cooperation or lack thereof by the juvenile.

May a juvenile be fingerprinted or photographed?

Yes, this is standard procedure.

What happens when a juvenile is detained?

A juvenile is taken into custody in order to protect the person or property of others; he/she is considered a threat to themselves; or because the juvenile may abscond.

What is decided at the detention hearing?

If the juvenile shall remain in detention due to their risk to the community or themselves

Can parents be held responsible for any payments?

Yes, the Court may determine the appropriateness of guardians being responsible for payments.

How are juvenile records expunged?

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.


What type of cases does the Fayette County Juvenile Court have jurisdiction over?


The Juvenile Courts in Pennsylvania have authority over children between the ages of birth and 18 years of age who are in jeopardy because of their circumstances or surroundings such as children who are abandoned, abused, neglected, or with proper parental guidance or supervision, and children who may be incorrigible, runaways from home our truants.  This group of children is classified as dependent children. 


Children who are between the ages of 10 and 18 years of age and who are charged with committing a misdemeanor or felony offense also come under the authority of the Juvenile Act as delinquent children.



Are there times when a person who is under the age of 18 can be tried as an adult?


Yes.  If a child is fifteen years of age or older, and he is charged with a major felony such as rape, robbery, robbery of a motor vehicle, aggravated assault, etc., and the crime is committed with the use of a deadly weapon, the person accused of this offense can be charged as an adult.



Do juvenile offenders in have the right to an attorney?


Yes.  Since the Juvenile Court has the authority to limit or eliminate a child’s freedom, children involved with the Court as defendants are entitled to legal counsel at all stages throughout their involvement with the Court.



Are certain cases involving juveniles handled by the District Justice?


Yes.  If a child is charged only with committing a Summary offense, the case is handled by the District Justice.  Summary offenses include most motor violations (except DUI, Fleeing or Eluding Police, and Homicide by Vehicle) and a number of criminal offenses such as Disorderly Conduct, Underage Drinking, and Criminal Mischief (damages less than $500) and Retail Theft (first offense less than $150).


The District Justice has the authority to find the juvenile innocent or guilty of the offense and impose fines and costs.


Who is responsible for paying the fines and costs assessed by the District Justice in a case involving a child?


It is the defendant’s responsibility to pay the fines and costs, and since the child is the defendant in this matter, it is the child’s responsibility.



Are parents responsible for paying for all of the damages caused by their children:


No.  In Pennsylvania, parents are limited in the amount of restitution that they may have to pay towards damages caused by their children.  For one offense, a parent’s limit is set at $1,000 and for multiple offenses; the parent’s limit of liability is set at $2,500.  If the damage caused by the child exceeds the parents limit of liability, the child is solely responsible for the damages.



How many cases does the Fayette County Juvenile Probation Office handle?


On any given day, there are about 200 children being actively supervised by the Fayette County Juvenile Probation Office.  Of this number, about 180 are living within the community with their parents or guardians while 20 are in placement at various group homes or residential facilities.



What are the qualifications to become a Juvenile Probation Officer?


Applicants must be at least 21 years of age, have a BA or BS from an accredited college or university with a minimum of 18 credits in the social or behavioral sciences, have a valid drivers license, and otherwise be of good character.   Employments inquiries should be directed to the County’s Office of Human Services.



Does the Fayette County Juvenile Probation Office accept interns?


Yes.  The Fayette County Juvenile Probation Office has been accepting interns from local colleges and universities for well over 35 years.  College juniors or seniors interested in doing an internship should contact the office directly and ask to speak with the Chief Juvenile Probation Office




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