If your child has been accused of a juvenile crime, you are undoubtedly under a great deal of stress. The truth is that being convicted of a juvenile crime can have serious consequences in your son or daughter's current and future situation. While the juvenile justice system is in place to help guide juveniles in the right direction, it can – nonetheless – stigmatize your child and have lasting negative effects. If your child is facing juvenile charges, you need the professional legal counsel of an experienced Dallas juvenile defense attorney.
The Texas Juvenile Justice System
In Texas, a juvenile is anyone between the ages of 10 and 17, and generally, anyone in this age range who’s accused of a crime will be processed through the juvenile justice system. The first step in your child’s processing will likely begin with intake, which amounts to a prosecutor ensuring that there is probable cause for bringing the charge against your son or daughter. It’s unlikely that your juvenile will be detained before being tried unless there are extenuating circumstances:
- Your child has a prior conviction (or convictions).
- Your child is a flight risk.
- Your child is a danger to himself/herself or others.
A juvenile without a parent or guardian or whose parent or guardian doesn’t provide adequate supervision may also be detained.
Your Child’s Rights
If your child has been accused of a crime, he or she has the same rights within the system that adults do. This means that he or she has the right to legal counsel and has the right to remain silent. Your child is well advised to exercise these rights. Being interviewed in connection with a crime is upsetting enough for an adult, but for a juvenile, it’s that much more harrowing. Your teenager is no doubt frightened and intimidated by the situation, but it is in his or her best interests not to answer any questions without an experienced juvenile defense attorney.
Adjudication and Disposition
Once charged, your child will proceed to court, which is comprised of two parts. The first is adjudication in which a judge or jury will determine if the charges against your child are true or not true (in comparison to guilty or not guilty for adults). For the charges to be found true, the jury must be in unanimous agreement. If your child enters a stipulation – comparable to an adult guilty plea – he or she will bypass adjudication and go directly to the disposition phase. Disposition correlates with sentencing for adults, and this is when the presiding judge will hand down an appropriate punishment. The judge’s motivation is to help your child focus on making positive changes.
If Your Child’s Been Charged with a Juvenile Crime, Contact Our Office Today
If your child is facing legal charges, it’s time to consult with an experienced juvenile defense lawyer. Attorney J. Michael Price II in Dallas understands exactly how critical the situation is, and has the dedication, knowledge, and commitment to skillfully advocate for the best possible resolution to your child’s case. Mr. Price focuses exclusively on defending the accused, so please contact or call us at 214-765-8000 today.