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What is a DFJ (Direct File Juvenile)?

My son got arrested. He is 16. He was charged like an adult. He is a juvenile though. Can the state do this?

In Pennsylvania, the state can charge a juvenile as an adult. The term we often hear in Philadelphia County is DFJ, which stands for Direct File Juvenile. That means that the district attorney arrested and plans to prosecute the defendant as an adult. In this scenario, the defendant starts out being treated like an adult the entire time they are involved in the process. After the preliminary hearing, the defendant’s attorney can file a special motion called a motion for decertification. That means that the attorney is asking the judge to send the defendant back to juvenile court to treat the defendant as a juvenile.

Does this special motion ever work?

It often gets granted, but those are complex issues that I will save for another post.

My friend told me that her son was arrested as a juvenile but that the DA is trying to file a special type of motion to move him from juvenile court to the adult court. Is this possible?

Absolutely, it is possible. That special motion is called a certification. If the child gets certified, he goes from juvenile court to adult court.

Email me back if this didn’t answer your questions. Good Luck.

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