When a young person comes into contact with law enforcement, a criminal record is opened on them. This record will contain each document that is created in regard to their criminal activity. The effect that this can have on his or her future is insurmountable.
It is a common misconception that once a juvenile turns 18, their record disappears. However, this is not always the case, and a juvenile criminal record can have a serious impact on adult life. It can affect their ability to get a job, join the military, receive financial assistance for college tuition, and prevent their ability to enter certain professions. It can also affect their eligibility for public housing, for themselves, and for the family they reside with.
A juvenile criminal record should not be taken lightly, but an experienced juvenile defense attorney will fight to keep your child’s criminal record clean.
If your child has been arrested, then you should contact a Fort Bend County juvenile defense lawyer from The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC. We will explain the juvenile court system and will develop a robust defense for your child’s case. We will also work to have your child’s record sealed to prevent it from affecting their lives in the future.
The Right To Silence And Legal Help
If your child has been arrested in Fort Bend County, Texas, then it is recommended that they do not discuss an alleged juvenile crime with law enforcement without legal representation. Both adults and children have a right to remain silent and wait for counsel before discussing the circumstances of their case.
It is important to remember that anything you or your child says to law enforcement could be used against you. The best thing you can do is seek advice from an experienced juvenile crimes lawyer as soon as possible. They will develop a defense strategy and will do everything possible to secure a favorable outcome in your case.
What Are Juvenile Cases In Fort Bend County, TX?
The Texas juvenile court system hears cases where a child was between the ages of 10-16 when they committed the offense. Once a child reaches 17, they will be charged as adults, and their case will be heard in adult court.
Common Juvenile Criminal Charges in Texas
A juvenile can be convicted of the same crimes as an adult, from Class C Misdemeanors to First Degree Felonies. If the juvenile offender is tried in juvenile court, then crimes are divided into two categories.
Delinquent conduct is the violation of state or federal law that would be punishable by a jail or prison sentence if the offender were an adult but not a traffic offense. That means that the young person committed a Class B misdemeanor or above. They have serious consequences that vary widely depending on the offense. Common delinquent conduct offenses include sex offenses, fake ID charges, felony offenses, sex offenses, and intoxication manslaughter.
If a juvenile is charged with delinquent conduct, then they will face a court process or diversion program. Possible punishment includes 1 to 2 years of probation or being sent to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) with a determinate or indeterminate sentence at a detention center.
A determinate sentence is where a juvenile is punished with a specific amount of time in TJJD, although they could be given an early release. An indeterminate sentence allows for the TJJD to keep a young person for any amount of time until they turn 19.
Young people who commit more serious offenses could be transferred to an adult criminal court when they turn 18 and could spend time in an adult prison.
Conduct Indicating A Need For Supervision (CINS)
CINS is behavior that would not cause an adult to face a jail or prison sentence but would result in a fine, with the exception of traffic offenses. Common CINS includes truancy, sexting or transmission of visual material depicting a minor, prostitution, certain alcohol violations, and inhaling paint or glue.
These actions do have legal consequences but do not result in detention or jail. There are a variety of options to either punish or help a young person charged with a CINS. For example, they could face probation or be sent to a diversionary program to help with behavioral, emotional, or sexual issues or a substance abuse treatment program.
A CINS will also be on a child’s record, which could still have a big impact on their future.
Minors Charged As Adults
There are some situations where a minor is charged as an adult. They will first face the juvenile justice system which will make this decision. There are a number of reasons why the juvenile court may decide that a young person should be tried as an adult, for example:
- The minor was 14 years or older when they were alleged to have committed a felony of the first degree, capital offense, or an aggravated controlled substance offense. There must not have been an adjudication hearing in relation to the offense.
- The minor was 15 years or older when they were alleged to have committed a state jail felony offense or second or third-degree felony. There must not have been an adjudication hearing in relation to the offense.
- Following an in-depth investigation and hearing, the court decides that there is sufficient evidence to show that the child did commit a serious offense or the background of the child requires criminal proceedings.
When deciding to charge a minor as an adult in the criminal justice system, the court will also consider the child’s maturity, previous history, the safety of the public, and the likelihood of rehabilitation. Whether your child is facing the juvenile or adult justice system, a Fort Bend County criminal defense lawyer from The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC can help.
Criminal Penalties For Juvenile Offenses in Fort Bend County
When a juvenile is found guilty of a crime, there are a variety of potential penalties, many of which are designed to help rehabilitate the child and prevent future re-offending. The penalties listed below are dependent on the offender’s criminal history, age, and severity of the crime.
- Probation – Probation involves the supervision of an offender. It can take place in a young person’s home or via an alternative program. This order is often put in place until a child reaches 18.
- Community Service – Community service involves unpaid work within the community for a specified amount of time.
- Incarceration – Serious offenses could lead to the incarceration of a juvenile. How long they are incarcerated for, and whether they will transfer to an adult prison will depend upon the crime and the child’s background.
- Restitution – Some juvenile offenders will be ordered to repay any victims of the crime or their families. This is usually the order where a crime leads to serious injury or death and serious property damage.
- Deferred Prosecution – Deferred prosecution is a voluntary probation term, usually lasting around six months. During this time, if the young person adheres to the terms laid out by the order, then they may avoid prosecution. However, if they violate the terms, then they will likely face prosecution.
- Supervisory Requirement – The probation department may provide some regular counseling to support the child’s emotional needs that may have contributed to their actions. In this case, the child and their family are referred to social service to ensure that the whole family is supported.
Contact A Fort Bend County Juvenile Defense Attorney Today
When a child faces criminal charges, it is a stressful time for the entire family, and you should not try to navigate the complex justice system alone. The outcome of a juvenile case can have far-reaching consequences, and so you should seek the support of an experienced juvenile defense attorney.
At Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, we provide aggressive representation. We will develop a defense strategy and do everything possible to secure a favorable outcome in your case. When you contact our criminal law firm, you will be protected by the attorney-client relationship, which means that you can speak openly without the fear of repercussions. Whatever the circumstances, we are here to help protect the future of you and your child.
Our practice areas include Fort Bend County, Harris County, Houston, and surrounding areas. So if your child is facing juvenile charges in Texas, then speak to one of our Love DuCote Law Firm LLC juvenile defense lawyers today at 832-843-1691.