Handling Juvenile Defense Matters in Houston, TX
Juveniles and teens make questionable choices, and they do not always make the decisions that are best for their futures. Sometimes, this means hanging out with the wrong crowd and getting into trouble. Getting arrested, even as a teen, can have long-lasting and damaging consequences. As a parent, you do not want one young and foolish mistake to adversely affect your child’s entire life. But what can you do?
When your child is arrested, your whole world may come crashing down. We know that no parent wants to receive this phone call. Yet, if that day does come, we want to be there to help you pick up the pieces and protect your child’s future.
At Roger G. Jain & Associates, P.C., we have over 20 years experience helping families navigate the juvenile criminal justice system in Houston and throughout Harris County. We know the juvenile courts, prosecutors, and judges that will likely oversee your child’s case. This enables us to give our clients a significant advantage from the very start.
Navigating the Houston Juvenile Criminal Justice System
The juvenile criminal justice system in Texas differs significantly from the adult criminal system. Understanding these differences is important when your child is taken into custody.
In general, anyone who is at least 10 and under the age of 17 is considered a juvenile in the state of Texas. Once a juvenile turns 18, Texas law considers them to be an adult. The state of Texas governs juvenile cases by a different set of laws compared to criminal cases. They are considered part of the Texas Family Code, and all laws are aimed at rehabilitating, not punishing the child for their actions. That does not mean, however, that your child will not face penalties or consequences.
When your child is taken into custody, they are not subject to bail, like adults. Instead, probation officials will evaluate the child’s age, the home, and the severity of the crime committed. This process is used to determine the appropriate actions for the juvenile court to take. After this process is completed, your child could be released back into your custody or placed in juvenile confinement.
If the officer believes that the juvenile needs to go through the formal court system for their offenses, parents should know what will happen next.
- Detention Hearing. This hearing happens within one day of the child being taken into custody. If the intake officer believes that the juvenile needs to be held in a detention facility, a new hearing must occur every 10 days to re-evaluate.
- Transfer Hearing. If the offense is serious, this hearing will determine if the case should be transferred to an adult court system.
- Adjudication Hearing. This is similar to a trial. During this hearing, the courts will examine the case and determine the best course of action to take.
- Disposition Hearing. This hearing is similar to a sentencing hearing. The judge will read the penalties and consequences the child will face, including probation, diversion programs, custody, or detention.
Offenses Tried by Juvenile Court
In general, the court oversees two main types of juvenile misconduct:
- Conduct Indicating a Need for Supervision. Offenses that stem from the need for supervision are the least serious offenses.
- Running away
- Failure to attend school
- Misdemeanors punishable by fines only
- Inhalant abuse
- Failing to follow court-ordered services in CPS case
- Expulsion for violation of school code of conduct
- Delinquent Conduct. These offenses are the most serious and often result in harsher consequences.
- Felony offenses
- Jailable misdemeanors
- Violation or contempt of court
- Driving while intoxicated
- Intoxication assault
- Intoxication manslaughter
If a court determines that your child has engaged in delinquent conduct, they can place them on different levels of probation. The more serious the actions and past offenses, the harsher the probation. In most serious cases, the juvenile court may transfer the case to an adult criminal court and the child may be tried as an adult.
At Roger G. Jain & Associates, P.C., we work tirelessly to ensure that this does not happen. We believe that one mistake should not define your child’s entire life. Our mission is to help you through this process, answer your questions, and ensure that your child’s future is affected as little as possible by this situation.
It is important to realize that juvenile convictions are serious and can result in harsh penalties. These penalties can include incarceration, probation, and large fines. In some cases, your child may even be removed from your home and guardianship. Yet, this does not have to happen. With the right legal representation you can fight back and protect your child from further harm.
Contact Our Houston Juvenile Defense Attorneys
If your child has been arrested, it is important to do everything in your power to protect them and their rights. Having a juvenile record can adversely affect their entire future and greatly reduce the opportunities they may have to get their life back on track. As such, it is important to speak to an experienced Houston juvenile defense attorney as soon as possible.
At Roger G. Jain & Associates, P.C., we can help you evaluate your child’s legal options. We will work to protect your child’s future every step of the way. We will also work tirelessly to keep your child’s charges in a juvenile court of law and prevent them from escalating if possible. To learn more, call us at (713) 981-0600 or fill out our confidential contact form. We know you have questions and we can help. Call us today!