Juvenile Defense Lawyer Serving Brazoria County
Aggressive Legal Defense for Juvenile Cases in Texas
As a parent, this is probably your worst nightmare: Your child has been accused of a crime and is facing the consequence of juvenile detention, or worse. You might also be worried about the possibility that your child will have a mark on their permanent record into adulthood for their crime(s). You aren’t alone – more than 100,000 juveniles are arrested in Texas in any given year, according to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
If you are a parent or guardian of a young person between the ages of 10 and 17 who has been accused of a crime, you’ll need an juvenile defense lawyer in Brazoria County who can help you fight for a favorable outcome. Properly defending a young person requires an in-depth knowledge of juvenile crimes and Texas law as it applies to those charged with breaking the law. Jeff Gilbert Law Offices will give you the attention other, bigger law firms cannot match, and we promise to help you and your loved one in the process of fighting allegations of juvenile crimes.
Do I Need an Attorney for a Juvenile Defense Case?
In short, it is never a bad idea to retain a juvenile defense lawyer to protect the rights and reputation of your child. Children should absolutely be represented by a qualified juvenile defense attorney if they are charged with a particularly violent crime. For example, charges of aggravated robbery almost always result in more severe penalties than, say, shoplifting. Effective legal counsel can greatly increase the likelihood that the case will have the best possible outcome for the young person.
The most favorable outcome will vary, but for less severe criminal charges, a juvenile defense lawyer may be able to avoid a formal process, so the child is released to their parent or guardian’s supervision and no formal convictions will go on file. For more severe crimes, your juvenile defense attorney could potentially help your child avoid incarceration and/or a juvenile crime on their permanent record.
How Juvenile Cases Are Handled According to Texas Law
In Texas, juveniles are taken into custody by a law enforcement officer for allegations of breaking the law. Once the juvenile is in detention, they will then be processed and their parents will be notified. Within 48 hours, the juvenile will be seen at a detention hearing and seen by a judge or magistrate to decide whether the young person will be released or detained in a detention facility until a second court appearance. Detention hearings are usually held every 10 days to reevaluate whether further detention is necessary, or if the juvenile should be released.
Will My Child Be Held on Bail?
Unlike adults accused of crimes, juveniles are not taken to jail and held on bail pending trial. The penal system for adults is not the same as it is for children. Instead, The Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TTJJD) imposes other consequences for juvenile offenders.
TTJJD puts juvenile crimes into two categories: “delinquent conduct,” and “conduct in need of supervision” (CINS). The difference between delinquent conduct and CINS is a matter of how severe the crime was.
- Juveniles are considered “delinquent” when they commit crimes that would result in incarceration had they been committed by an adult.
- CINS crimes, or “conduct in need of supervision," include lesser offenses that often end with a simple fine. Examples of delinquent conduct include any violent crimes, and “conduct in need of supervision” (CINS) includes crimes such as running away from home or chronic truancy.
What Are the Consequences of Adjudication for a Juvenile?
Another important difference between adult and juvenile crime charges is that an adult will be “convicted” of a crime, whereas a juvenile will be “adjudicated.” The consequences of an adult conviction and a juvenile adjudication are quite different, too. There are several potential outcomes to juveniles adjudicated on delinquent conduct. A skillful juvenile defense lawyer may be able to convince a judge for a lesser penalty, which is why it’s important to have an attorney for your child, so they can potentially avoid serious, long-term consequences.
Consequences of delinquent conduct include:
- Probation, where the juvenile is formally processed and referred to probation departments.
- For less severe crimes, the juvenile may be sent to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department for a determinate sentence.
- For felony offense adjudications, the juvenile may be sent to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department with an indefinite sentence. Rarely, an older juvenile will be tried as an adult for the most severe penalties, usually for violent crimes such as murder, armed robbery, or aggravated sexual assault. These juveniles usually begin their sentences in a juvenile justice facility and are then transferred to an adult prison when they turn 18 or 19.
- After release from juvenile detention, the offender may be subject to parole or supervised probation to help ensure they do not re-offend.
Contact an Experienced Brazoria County Juvenile Defense Attorney Today
Jeff Gilbert Law Firm is here to help you and your child. We offer confidential consultations to juveniles and their parents or guardians in Brazoria County.
Contact our criminal defense attorneys today or call us at (979) 200-6556 today to get started.