If a younger relative or child is facing criminal charges in Harris County, you are probably scared and worried about what the consequences could be in regard to their future. You might also be scared that they may have to spend time in jail or they will receive a permanent criminal record.
In the state of Texas, the criminal law that applies to juvenile offenders is different from the criminal law that applies to adults. For the best possible outcome, you need to obtain legal representation from a skilled team of criminal defense attorneys who can help protect the individual’s future.
At LoveDucote Law Firm, LLC, we have been serving the area of Harris County for over 40 years. During this time, we have defended our clients in numerous cases, winning favorable outcomes for many. From the dismissal of the charges to the reduction of the punishments meted out, our competent team is ready to help.
We know that minors can often make foolish decisions and mistakes, and this should not result in them suffering long into adult life. We defend aggressively, ensuring that the best interests of the juvenile are maintained.
Harris County Juvenile Defense Lawyers at Love DuCote Law Firm LLC
For parents and loved ones, dealing with a juvenile defense case can be extremely stressful. Considering the chances that your child may have to spend time in a juvenile detention center or long periods of time with the Harris County Juvenile probation department and worrying about the effects a criminal record will have on their future, we don’t blame you.
Our juvenile criminal defense team here at LoveDucote Law Firm, LLC, has dealt with numerous cases similar to yours. We have worked with the families of those accused, and we have provided strong legal advocacy to the accused. We will guide you through each step of the way.
Every one of our attorneys is highly skilled and is recognized by the respective state bar association.
Our law firm has vast experience when it comes to criminal defense law, juvenile defense cases, family law, domestic violence, and DUI/DWI cases. With our deep pool of experience, we can draw upon countless cases to tailor a bespoke strategy.
Who is Considered a Juvenile in Harris County, TX?
In Harris County, TX, anyone under the age of 17 is classed as a juvenile. As a juvenile, a person is judged differently and under separate legal systems from the adult criminal system.
The law is designed this way so that juveniles are offered a significant chance of rehabilitation as opposed to severe punishments.
However, if a juvenile commits a crime that is seen as extremely serious, there is a chance a juvenile may be tried as an adult. As a state, Texas is known for leaning towards severe punishment for crime, and this means that juveniles could face adult charges in Harris County, TX.
The best way to combat this is to obtain legal representation from a skilled team of criminal defenders.
Juvenile Offenses our Law Firm Can Help Defend Against in Harris County, TX
As a juvenile in Harris County, you must follow the same laws that adults are required to follow. This means that all criminal statutes that apply to adults also apply to juveniles. The main difference between adults and juveniles is the way that they are tried and punished. As long as the crime was not serious enough to warrant an adult court trial, juveniles are usually punished by the juvenile justice system. The criminal history of the juvenile may play a crucial role in this decision.
Some of the more common juvenile crimes we deal with include:
Texas has a strict approach to substance abuse and alcohol consumption under age. This means that punishments for an underage DUI can be serious. People caught operating a vehicle with even one drop of alcohol in their blood underage will be faced with a DUI charge.
The penalties for an underage DUI charge include:
- Automatic license suspension
- Court-mandated alcohol awareness program
- Regular probation meetings with a probation officer
- Community service
If the offense is repeated, there may be increased punishments, such as jail time.
Here at Love DuCote Law Firm, LLC, we regularly defend juvenile clients being charged with drug-related crimes. Juveniles commonly come into contact with drugs while they are at school or when with friends, and peer pressure can lead them to do things without considering the potential consequences.
Harris County, just like the rest of the state of Texas, has a no-tolerance policy for drugs. Many charges, except for very minor possession charges, are charged as felonies in Texas and this means the penalties can be extremely serious.
If a juvenile is charged with a minor possession charge, including prescription drug and paraphernalia charges, they may get away with a misdemeanor. The punishments for this may be probation until the age of 18 or rehabilitation.
If the juvenile is facing a felony drug charge, there are increased punishments, such as probation until they are 18, jail time in the Texas Juvenile Justice Department prison system, or, in the worst cases, they may be tried as adults and feel the full wrath of the Texas justice system.
If your child is facing drug crime-related charges, you must seek representation to protect their future. Texas punishes severely when it comes to drug crimes, and without representation, your child may be punished to the full extent of the law.
Our attorneys have defended numerous clients being charged with theft charges. Juveniles often steal things through peer pressure or to act out against problems at home. When doing so, they rarely consider the serious consequences they might face.
Being caught shoplifting or stealing can lead to a misdemeanor conviction; after being charged, the child may have to pay restitution or go on probation. For repeat offenders, the case may be heard in juvenile court.
For first-time offenders, with the work of a criminal defense lawyer, the case could be reduced to a warning.
How Does The Juvenile Justice System Work in Harris County, TX?
In Texas, the adult criminal justice system is geared towards harsh punishment. In comparison, the juvenile justice system is geared towards rehabilitation instead of punishment. The juvenile system is much more lenient, and when it comes to minors, the system will try to avoid serious penalties that may affect the child’s future.
Part of the juvenile justice system is the First Offender Program. This program allows first-time juvenile offenders to avoid the need for a court hearing in front of a judge. This system allows the juvenile to pay restitution and carry out community service. If they do this, they avoid the criminal system.
Another option on offer is deferred probation. If they stick to their probation for six months without any issues, they can avoid the formal criminal process.
When a child is being charged with felony charges or serious misdemeanors, there is a chance they may be charged as an adult. This often happens when the juvenile has committed a violent or malicious crime.
One thing to note, a juvenile can never be sentenced to life imprisonment without the chance of parole, and they cannot be sentenced with the death penalty. This is true even in cases involving capital or first-degree felonies.
If you are concerned your child may be tried as an adult, or you want to give them the best possible chances of avoiding the criminal justice system, you need to speak to a Harris County criminal defense lawyer immediately. The sooner you involve them, the better prepared they will be and the easier it will be to build a defense strategy with the highest chance of success.
Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer For Juvenile Criminal Cases
Retaining a juvenile criminal defense lawyer is the best route to take when preparing for a juvenile criminal case. They will work to ensure that your child does not receive an outcome that impacts the rest of their life. If they are facing serious charges, your attorney will do everything within their power to avoid the harshest penalties.
Choosing what criminal defense attorney you want to hire is a difficult decision, perhaps the most important decision you will ever make.
Here are some things to consider:
Your Criminal Defense Lawyer Should Be Responsive
When facing a criminal charge, acting quickly is crucial. In cases like this, losing time could result in a lost case, and this means you need to find an attorney that is willing to get to work straight away.
When you begin your inquiries, gauge how quickly they respond. Most good criminal defense law firms will get back to you and arrange a meeting within 24 hours.
Your Attorney Should Specialize in Criminal Law
While the law firm does not have to solely practice criminal law, they should assign you an attorney that dedicates most of their professional time to fighting criminal cases.
Choose Someone Experienced in the Local Courts
A local attorney will have experience with the local courts, and this can give them an immediate advantage as they most likely have local connections and relationships. Every court does things differently, and every judge has their own approach. Knowing these will give you an edge.
Check Independent Sources
We highly recommend checking independent review sites like AVVO; these sites place ratings on attorneys independently, utilizing a range of factors such as years of service, successful cases, referrals from clients, awards and accolades, and peer reviews.
Take our attorneys here at LoveDucote Law Firm, LLC, for example. Jeremy B. DuCote, one of our managing partners, has been awarded a “superb” rating on AVVO.
This rating comes from his victories and his time as a former president of the Fort Bend County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.
Ask About the Fee Structure to Avoid Later Confusion
A good defense attorney will explain their fee structure in a crystal clear manner to clients. This prevents there being confusion later on down the line. They will tell you what to expect regarding the fees you pay, and they should be able to give you a rough estimate of the cost your defense may take.
Protecting Your Child’s Future
When you are choosing which attorney you want to represent your juvenile, you need to ensure they have the best possible experience to protect your child’s future. They should do everything possible to fight against a criminal conviction. This includes seeking deferred prosecution, which allows them to avoid the worst penalties and a criminal record. While juvenile records are not public, they can be accessed by law enforcement agencies and criminal record checks.
Your attorney will fight to allow your child to return home with a court warning. To do this they will negotiate with the judge and local law enforcement to plead their case.
Contact a Harris County Juvenile Defense Lawyer in The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC!
When children are punished harshly by the state’s criminal system, they become much more likely to commit further crimes at an older age and are exposed to more criminality than if they were given leniency. This means that protecting them from this system should be the top priority.
If your child is facing criminal charges, a criminal defense attorney is crucial. Here at LoveDucote Law Firm, LLC, we understand the severity of the situation, and we have experience dealing with countless cases just like yours.
We have guided numerous clients through the juvenile justice system, securing favorable outcomes for the juvenile. Our juvenile law attorneys will fight to get your child’s case dismissed, and the child returned back to the family home with a warning.