If your child has been arrested for stealing, you are naturally very concerned and likely have plenty of urgent questions. Understanding the basics can help assuage some of your most pressing concerns. Keep in mind that children sometimes make bad choices and get in trouble with the law in the process, but an experienced Dallas juvenile crimes attorney will help protect your child’s rights and future by aggressively advocating for the best possible resolution to his or her case.
The Right to Remain Silent
Being charged with theft by the police is a frightening and intimidating experience for anyone, and it’s likely even more so for your teen. Nevertheless, your child has the right to remain silent and to have legal counsel, and he or she should exercise these rights. Anything your child says can – and will – be used against him or her, so your first order of business is to advise your teenager to remain silent and to wait for his or her attorney to arrive.
Juvenile Justice in Texas
In the State of Texas, a juvenile is anyone between the ages of 10 and 17, and when a child in this age range is charged with theft, that child will generally be tried as a juvenile in the Texas juvenile justice system. Typically, for juvenile theft charges, your child will not be detained prior to trial. Instead, a probation officer will conduct an intake process to determine if there is probable cause to charge him or her with the crime.
For juveniles, detention usually isn’t an issue unless one of several conditions applies:
- The juvenile has a prior conviction.
- The juvenile doesn’t have a parent or guardian or doesn’t receive adequate supervision and care from a parent or guardian.
- The juvenile is a flight risk – he or she is likely to either leave or be taken from the jurisdiction.
- The juvenile is a danger to self or others.
A child defendant faces a hearing in two parts. It begins with the adjudication phase in which a jury must decide unanimously that the charges against him or her are true (true or not true as opposed to guilty and not guilty in the adult system). Your child may avoid adjudication by entering a stipulation, which is the equivalent of an adult guilty plea. This will take his or her case directly to disposition – or the sentencing phase in which the judge presiding over the case will determine the appropriate punishment. Said punishment is intended to instruct and to promote positive change in the child.
If Your Child’s Been Charged with Juvenile Theft, Contact Our Office Today
If your child is facing theft charges, it’s a serious matter with serious potential consequences, and you need an experienced juvenile crimes lawyer on your side. Attorney J. Michael Price II in Dallas has the skill, compassion, and commitment to fight for your child’s rights and for the most positive resolution of his or her case. Mr. Price exclusively defends the accused, so please contact or call us at 214-765-8000 today.