Rule 370. Consent Decree.

 A.  Agreement.

   1)  At any time after the filing of a petition and before the entry of an adjudication order, the court may, upon agreement of the attorney for the Commonwealth and the juvenile suspend the proceedings, and continue the juvenile under supervision in the juvenile’s home, under terms and conditions negotiated with the juvenile probation office.

   2)  The order of the court continuing the juvenile under supervision shall be known as a consent decree.

 B.  Explanation of conditions. The court shall explain on the record or in writing:

   1)  the terms, conditions, and duration of the consent decree pursuant to Rule 373; and

   2)  the consequences for violating the conditions of the consent decree, which include the petition under which the juvenile was continued under supervision may, in the discretion of the attorney for the Commonwealth following consultation with the juvenile probation officer, be reinstated, and the juvenile held accountable as if the consent decree had never been entered if:

     a)   prior to discharge by the juvenile probation officer or expiration of the consent decree, there is a filing of a new petition against the juvenile; or

     b)   the juvenile otherwise fails to fulfill express terms and conditions of the decree.


   See 42 Pa.C.S. §  6340.

   A consent decree is a device for placing an allegedly delinquent juvenile under supervision of the juvenile probation office prior to, and as an alternative to, adjudication, thus avoiding potential stigma attached to an adjudication of delinquency. Commonwealth v. Wexler, 431 A.2d 877 (Pa. 1981).

   Before placing the juvenile on consent decree, the victim(s) of the offense should be consulted. See Victim’s Bill of Rights, 18 P.S. §  11.201 et seq.

   Under this rule, it is expected that the attorney for the Commonwealth should consult with the juvenile probation officer before revoking the consent decree. The consent decree should only be revoked if the juvenile fails to meet the conditions of the program or new allegations have been filed against the juvenile.

   If a juvenile violates the conditions of the consent decree, double jeopardy does not attach and bar subsequent prosecution. See Commonwealth v. Szebin, 785 A.2d 103 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2001). In Commonwealth v. Wexler, 431 A.2d 877 (Pa. 1981), the Supreme Court viewed a consent decree in the same fashion as Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition. See also In re John W., 446 A.2d 621 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1982).

   Nothing in this rule prohibits the entry of a consent decree after there has been an admission pursuant to Rule 407 or after there has been a ruling on the offenses pursuant to Rule 408. See also Comment to Rule 408.

   Official Note

   Rule 370 adopted April 1, 2005, effective October 1, 2005. Amended July 28, 2014, effective September 29, 2014.

   Committee Explanatory Reports:

   Final Report explaining the provisions of Rule 370 published with the Court’s Order at 35 Pa.B. 2214 (April 16, 2005).

   Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 370 published with Court’s Order at 44 Pa.B. 5447 (August 16, 2014).


   The provisions of this Rule 370 amended July 28, 2014, effective September 29, 2014, 44 Pa.B. 5447. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (357298) and (347609).

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