Juvenile Crimes FAQ

What is a Summary Offense?

A summary offense is less serious than a misdemeanor or a felony. Summary offenses are usually minor offenses such as:

  • Underage drinking
  • Retail theft of property valued at less than $150
  • Disorderly conduct

A summary offense can become a matter for juvenile court if the youth fails to comply with the conditions of a disposition ordered by a District Justice.

What are Misdemeanor v. Felony Crimes?

Offenses are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. Felony crimes are the most serious criminal offenses possible, while misdemeanor offenses are considered less serious. The biggest difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is the potential punishment associated with each one.    

Are Juvenile Court Open to the Public?

Juvenile courts are open to the public if a child is 12 years old and charged with certain very serious offenses or the child is 14 years old or older and charged with ANY felony offense.

Will a juvenile adjudication of delinquency affect driving privileges?

In Pennsylvania, driving privileges will be suspended for periods ranging from 90 days to three years for a variety of delinquency adjudications, including:

  • Purchasing, drinking, possessing alcoholic beverages
  • Carrying false identification
  • Racing
  • Careless driving
  • Driving to avoid arrest
  • Homicide by vehicle or homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence
  • Terroristic threats on school property or at a school-sponsored activity
  • Possession, sale or delivery of a controlled substance

Will a juvenile who has been adjudicated delinquent be allowed to vote?

Yes, because a delinquency adjudication is not a conviction. A young person who turns 18 while completing the terms of his or her treatment, rehabilitation or supervision is permitted to register and vote. He or she may vote regardless of whether the delinquency adjudication is for conduct that would be a felony or a misdemeanor if committed by an adult, and regardless of whether he or she is in placement.