Central TX Lawyer:Texas Juvenile Law
Juvenile Law deals with crimes committed by children. The age for a youth offender in Texas is between ten and seventeen years. By federal law, a child is a person under the age of eighteen when he or she violates the law he or she is charged with a crime.
Governmental bodies, including the federal government, states and cities, prosecute various crimes committed by children, from traffic violations to felonies like rape and murder.
If your child has been charged with a crime, it is essential that you seek an experienced juvenile law lawyer at once so that you can preserve his or her rights and future.
Children facing criminal charges have many of the same rights their parents would have if they were accused of a crime. These rights include the right to remain silent, the right to cross-examine witnesses against them and the right to be represented by a defense attorney.
When an adult is charged with a crime, he or she is brought into court in order to determine first, if he or she committed a crime, and second, the appropriate punishment. Juvenile Law Court has a somewhat different emphasis.
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The purpose of juvenile law court is not to punish juvenile offenders, but to rehabilitate them. A child adjudication will generally not count as a conviction of a crime, for future job applications.
In recent years, Texas has made the emphasis of juvenile law court more like that of adult court, and focus on the punishment of juvenile offender. More youth are being tried in adult courts.
No. Your child may invoke his or her constitutional right to remain silent and to counsel, just as any adult may. Such right does not encompass non-incriminating information, such as name, parents’ names and residence, residence of child, school, work, and other identifying information.
There is no duty for a police officer or an intake officer to require the presence of a parent or guardian before speaking with a child in juvenile detention. A request by a child to see a parent prior to an interrogation is not the same as requesting an attorney.
The sole purpose of a detention hearing under juvenile law is to determine whether a child should be detained or released to a parent or guardian. The legal presumption is that the child should be released. The child is to be released unless one or more of the five grounds for detention is found to exist:
(1) the child is likely to abscond or be removed from the jurisdiction of the court;
(2) suitable supervision, care or protection for the child is not being provided by a parent, guardian, custodian, or other person;
(3) the child has no parent, guardian, custodian, or other person able to return him or her to the court when required;
(4) he or she is accused of committing a felony offense and may be dangerous to himself or others if released; or
(5) the child has previously been found to be a delinquent child or has previously been convicted of a penal offense punishable by a term in jail or prison and is likely to commit an offense if released.
If a child is taken into custody by the police, by law the child must have a juvenile detention hearing within 48 hours from the time he or she is taken into custody. At this initial hearing, a judicial determination of probable cause is made. This initial hearing cannot be waived. If the child is detained further, the next detention hearing must be made before the tenth working day after the initial detention order.
Subsequent detention hearings must be held every 10-15 working days, unless waived.
It is important for the child to remain silent regarding the offense, as any statement made may be used against the child at a later time. This is true of information given at the intake stage and at the “social history” appointment as well.
A child tried as an adult will be treated no differently from an adult. Unlike child court, all court proceedings will be open to the public, and the records of the proceedings will be public information. The record of a child's conviction will not be sealed, but will be a public record.
The sentence imposed will also be the same as would be imposed on an adult. The time served would not be limited to when the child reaches the age of majority, as in juvenile sentences.
The consequences of a child being tried as an adult can be dramatically different from what may happen if a case stayed in youth court. Contact a criminal defense law office to learn more.
A child found guilty of a crime in child court may receive probation, have a fine imposed, perform community service, make restitution or pay back the losses caused by the criminal acts, or be sentenced to serve time in a youth correctional facility.
Laws in some states require anyone charged with certain crimes, such as homicide, to be tried as an adult, regardless of age. Many states also provide that a youth must be tried as an adult if he or she has been previously found guilty of an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult.
Prosecutors are often given the discretion to charge a young person in either adult or juvenile court. This discretion is limited to certain types of offenses, committed by children over a certain age. The offenses charged are usually violent, serious or repeat offenses.
Some other factors that may be included are nature of the crime, extent of prior record, juvenile's intellect and philological development, and past rehabilitative treatment.
Judges in virtually every state may waive child court jurisdiction and transfer a case to adult court. This is typically done at the request of the prosecutor. A hearing is usually held to determine if the case is an appropriate one for adult court. The main factor the court will consider under juvenile law is whether the youth can be helped by the youth court system. If the court concludes that the resources available within the juvenile court system can rehabilitate the young person, the case will stay in the court.
There often is a possibility that a child will be tried as an adult, in adult criminal court, rather than a hearing in juvenile law court. The protections of a child court proceeding do not exist in adult court.
Court proceedings and records are not confidential, but are open to the public, and the court may impose the same sentence on your son or daughter (jail time, fines and probation or prison) that would be imposed on an adult. To learn more contact a criminal defense law attorney.
This website is for informational purposes only. Using this site or communicating with F. Edward Brown , Attorney, 208 East Central Avenue, Suite 107, Belton, Texas 76513. Phone 254-634-2587 does not form an attorney/client relationship. This site is legal advertising.
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