Juvenile Crimes: The Facts Behind a Juvenile Offense

Caring Austin Juvenile Defense Attorney

Juvenile crimes are illegal acts performed by a minor who is typically under the age of 18. These crimes are also called juvenile delinquency, youth crimes or juvenile offenses. Depending on the type and the severity of an occurrence, a minor may be tried as an adult. The penalties can be extensive and may leave a permanent record.

Parents may not know what to expect from the Texas Youth Commission and are usually most concerned about understanding the process and protecting their child’s future. Children are often afraid and embarrassed and need a caring Austin juvenile defense attorney to help them navigate the court process. Defense lawyers know that juvenile cases require special attention. He believes in getting to know the children and families involved in these cases and using this information to present such cases in the best possible light. Even if the child accused of a crime is guilty, there may be steps that a qualified Austin juvenile defense attorney can take to improve the circumstances and protect your child’s rights.

Serious Juvenile Crimes in Texas include:

Consequences of a Juvenile Criminal Record

Even a relatively minor juvenile criminal case has serious consequences for the accused child’s future. Juvenile cases are not automatically sealed when the child turns 18 years old. Having a juvenile record can affect college admission, scholarships, employment opportunities and professional licensing. Even worse, children who are less than 18 years old and accused of a crime may be charged as adults and prosecuted in adult court, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. If your child is being investigated for or charged with a crime, do not allow your child to be interviewed or give any statements, and immediately contact Houston juvenile defense lawyer Mario Madrid.

Possible Juvenile Crime Penalties

The penalties for a youth crime in Texas greatly depends on the age of the child, the type of crime and any previous criminal record. First-time offenders are often referred to residential placement or probation combined with counseling. However, the court can also waive the jurisdiction and transfer the case to the adult criminal system as needed. If the child enters the juvenile legal system, the options for defense become limited and should be handled by an experienced attorney. The possible consequences can include the following:

  • Confinement in juvenile detention
  • Reimbursement to the victim (restitution)
  • Prolonged probationary period
  • Inclusion of information about the crime in one’s permanent record
  • Diagnostic testing and psychological evaluations
  • Drug or alcohol counseling

The Juvenile Offense Process

If the arrest takes place, the offender will be most likely transported to the police station for booking. The process begins with recording the personal information such as the name and address. It is then followed by fingerprinting and photographs. Any statements obtained during the booking are documented. The child has the right to refuse to answer any questions until he or she can retain the help of a lawyer.

The minor cannot be held in an adult jail for longer than six hours and must be transferred to a juvenile facility or released into the custody of the minor’s parents or guardians. In some instances, the case may be diverted, allowing the child to enter a rehabilitation program, social services organizations or counseling without the necessity of dealing with the judicial system.

If the juvenile probation department decides on formal intervention by the juvenile court, the defendant’s attorney fights the prosecution to have the case dismissed and the charges lessened. During the hearing, the prosecution may also request for the case to be referred to an adult criminal court if the previous methods of intervention have not been successful. Every effort is implemented to use the most aggressive methods to protect the child’s rights and offer alternate venues of rehabilitation.

Austin Juvenile Cases Require a Skilled Trial Attorney

Juvenile trials are heard by a judge, not a jury. The standard of proof in all juvenile criminal cases is beyond a reasonable doubt, which means that the Assistant District Attorney must prove to the judge that your child is guilty beyond all reasonable doubt at trial. Just as in other criminal cases, your child has constitutional rights, including the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, the right against self-incrimination and the right against illegal searches and seizures.