Pittsburgh Juvenile Crime Lawyer
Pittsburgh juvenile crime lawyer Gary E. Gerson is an advocate for teens and children who are arrested and charged with both misdemeanors and felonies. Because persons under the age of 18 are generally treated different from the adult population and catalogues them as a “delinquent” instead of a criminal, it is extremely important that your child’s crime stays in the juvenile system, so that his or her adult record is without blemishes upon their eighteenth birthday. Attorney Gerson is familiar with ill-fated minors who are charged as adults because he has studied their cases and the failing of their lawyers in the past. As a product of the adult criminal justice system before they are even old enough to vote, many of these children feel hopeless, unable to find gainful employment, and turn back to a life of crime. Attorney Gerson’s goal is that young clients learn from their mistakes and move forward on to a bright future. If your child has been arrested and you fear that he or she may be tried as an adult, please contact our Pittsburgh juvenile crimes attorney at 412-219-6875 for a free initial consultation.
Children Can Be Charged As An Adult
Teens can be charged with nearly any crime as an adult. That means that persons under the age of 18 who commit acts of aggravated assault, sexual assault, weapons crimes, and drug crimes can be charged as if they were fully functioning adults. But Juvenile Offense Attorney Gerson will tirelessly work to ensure that does not happen. If your child is facing the possibility of being tried as an adult, Attorney Gerson will pursue decertification, a process wherein he would petition the court to have a minor who is initially charged as an adult to be arbitrated by the juvenile justice system. Upon success, your child will likely have the opportunity to attend some type of rehabilitation program in an effort to work on personal issues instead of falling deeper into the rabbit hole that is the criminal justice system.
Focused On The Best Interest Of Juveniles
Attorney Gerson is focused on the long-term interests of your son or daughter. Sometimes, it is necessary to remove the child from a home with an abusive parent or guardian. Other circumstances call for Mr. Gerson to negotiate with and convince school administrators to allow the child to finish school so long as no more infractions are committed. Pittsburgh juvenile crimes attorney Gerson can also request placement, probation, community service and involvement, and restrictions from sports teams and other after-school undertakings.
Applying For College & Jobs
There is a common misconception out there that if you, your son, or your daughter have a juvenile criminal record, it is “sealed” and is unable to be viewed by anyone who may wish to inquire. People also think that once you turn eighteen, everything on the record is wiped clean. In fact, anytime you apply for employment, submit an application to a university, or wish to join the military, the powers that be can look at your complete criminal history, regardless of your age. Now that young people are heading to college and others are searching or have already found new beginnings, I have received several emails from concerned young adults and their parents about what they have to do to be eligible for school, employment, or the military if they have a juvenile record. I’ve put together this blog with some basic information about applying to the military and college with a record. Remember, one of the most important decisions you can make as a young person with a juvenile record is to petition the court to expunge that record as soon as you are eligible. With the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney such as Gary E. Gerson, you can do just that.
Will the colleges to which I apply or the military find out about my record?
Yes, they have the resources to review your record. If you have ever been charged and found delinquent, then it is possible for potential colleges and the U.S. government to read into your juvenile record. Just because you have a record does not necessarily mean you will not be accepted, but certain juvenile crimes are worse than others, and your crime can be the difference if admissions or a review board has you as a borderline candidate.
How do I answer the question: “Have you ever been convicted of juvenile crimes?”
Being charged as an adult brings about a criminal conviction. A criminal conviction is not a juvenile adjudication (judgment). Therefore, you many answer “NO” when asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime. In the same breath, however, if a university, employer, or any other type of secondary training establishment asks you if you have ever been adjudicated or judged delinquent, then it is extremely important that you answer that question in truth. If you have a juvenile record and it has not been expunged, then you should answer “YES” to that question. Remember, getting the adjudication expunged as soon as possible will make all of these processes simpler. Once your juvenile record is expunged, you can truthfully answer “NO” to any questions associated with delinquent adjudication.
How do I answer question 23 on my FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)?
Ah yes, the dreaded question 23. Question 23 on your FAFSA asks if you have ever been convicted of possessing or distributing illegal drugs while you were in the process of receiving grants or loans via the federal government. If you were judged delinquent for selling or possessing illegal drugs while on federal aid, you can truthfully answer “NO” to this question because a delinquent adjudication is not the same as a criminal conviction. This question is specifically asking about adult conviction, so if you were a juvenile but charged as an adult with a drug crime, then you should answer “YES.” This is probably one of the most common questions I get and many young people answer “YES” even though they’ve only been judged delinquent because they think it is best to tell the truth. By answering “YES,” you’re actually lying and stepping on your own toes.
Will juvenile crimes keep me from joining a branch of the military?
Unfortunately, yes. If you have been delinquent adjudicated, the military can deny your enlistment. Remember, the military is a federal agency and is therefore able to see fit to their own regulations, which may differ from Pennsylvania law. Even if your delinquent adjudication has been expunged, the military may still review your record. The military can look at certain crimes much more unfavorably than others and choose not to accept you because of them. If you’re not accepted, you can request a waiver. In these situations, I always endorse that the potential enlistee round up as many letters of recommendation as possible—be it from school teachers, community leaders, clergy, etc.—to present to your recruiting officer when you attempt or reattempt enlistment.
Free Initial Consultation With an Experienced Pittsburgh Juvenile Crimes Lawyer
Often times, the most difficult part of having your child arrested for a crime is how the police deal with the situation. Police officers think they can easily manipulate children into confessing. This can lead to confusion and fear and situations where the minor actually confesses to crimes they did not commit. There are laws that protect your child’s civil rights and juvenile crimes attorney Gerson’s goal is to make sure those rights were upheld. In addition, Mr. Gerson will ensure your child’s holding conditions are well met and that your child receives a timely trial. Ultimately, Attorney Gerson wants your child’s juvenile record sealed and stored and, if at all possible, he wants the crime to be expunged from your child’s record for good. If you have any questions about juvenile law or if your child has been arrested and you are not sure what to do, please contact The Law Offices of Gary E. Gerson today at 412-219-6875 for a free preliminary consultation.