What Parents Need to Know About the Texas Juvenile Justice System
Part of growing up means making mistakes — and hopefully learning from them. However, when a childhood mistake results in involvement with the Texas juvenile justice system, the consequences for a simple error can be significant.
Every parent knows children can go through difficult times. Even a very responsible child may make a momentary blunder, temporarily fall in with the wrong crowd or act out due to pressure. Texas law recognizes that children are different than adults, so a child who has broken the law in Texas will need to face consequences, but not the same penalties as an adult.
If your child has been charged in Texas, contact a juvenile criminal defense attorney at Morales & Sparks. Our law firm is fully committed to Texas families and we treat each of our clients as though they are part of our own, defending them with all our expertise and to the very best of our ability.
Understanding the Juvenile Justice System in Texas
The criminal justice system in Texas is different from the juvenile system, since the juvenile system is mainly focused on rehabilitating those who have been convicted. In Texas, a person can enter the juvenile system if they are charged with a crime and they are between 10 and 16 years old.
In cases where a child is over 14 and has committed a felony, or in cases where a crime is serious, a child can be tried as an adult. This can be the case in any charges involving a deadly weapon, serious injury or a serious charge.
On the other hand, the following charges can result in charges in Texas juvenile court:
- Shoplifting and theft
- Assault, battery and sexual assault
- Drug-related offenses
- Sexual misconduct
- Gang-related offenses
- Underage drinking
What Happens When a Child Is Arrested in Texas
If an offense is minor, police may simply warn the parents and the child. If the offense was more serious or if the police decide further action is needed, the child is taken to a juvenile probation intake unit, where local juvenile probation officials take the next steps.
Juvenile probation officials may decide to offer counseling or rehabilitation to the child, which means the family may be dealing with a range of programs and services. In cases where a serious crime was committed and charges as well as court are likely, juvenile probation officials will decide where a child will remain until trial. Usually, they will stay with their parents. They may also stay in juvenile detention centers pending trial and a judge’s decision.
For serious crimes, children are registered with a Texas central repository and are fingerprinted. This means juvenile justice professionals and law enforcement can access the child’s file in Texas.
What Should I Do? Contact A Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer For Advice
Having a child arrested is heartbreaking for any parent. If you are looking for a Texas criminal defense attorney for juvenile offenders, contact Morales & Sparks for compassionate and professional attorneys. A criminal defense attorney for kids in our Texas offices can answer your questions and can give you some insight into what you can do next to protect your child and your family.