As a parent, you’ve probably had your fair share of sleepless nights worrying. Worrying about your child’s future is natural. When your child has been arrested in Dallas, TX, it might seem as though all of your worst fears have come true.
That doesn’t have to be true. Kids make mistakes. As adults, it’s our job to fight to protect their future from the repercussions of those mistakes. The experienced Dallas criminal defense lawyers at Edgett Law Firm can help you minimize the fallout.
If your child was arrested, don’t hesitate to call our experienced Dallas juvenile crimes lawyers for help today. We always offer a free consultation so you can learn more about how to put a juvenile mistake in the past.
How Our Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Fight Your Child’s Juvenile Charges
You’ve probably heard that the juvenile courts focus on rehab, not punishment. While true, you still need a strong Dallas criminal defense lawyer to advocate for a favorable outcome. Criminal law is complex no matter how you look at it. Our experienced juvenile defense lawyers in Dallas can help you successfully navigate the challenges you’re facing.
When you hire Edgett Law Firm to protect your child, you can expect that we will:
Help You Learn What to Expect From the Juvenile Justice System
If you’ve been lucky, this is your first encounter with the criminal justice system. Not knowing what to expect can make your fears even more extreme. Our lawyers will sit down and help you understand the juvenile criminal justice process.
We’ll work with you and your child to give you the lay of the land. Based on the facts of your case, we’ll help you learn what to expect as your case progresses–and we’re always available to answer any questions that arise along the way.
Offer Experienced Legal Guidance Every Step of the Way
Any number of choices are likely to arise while your case progresses. You need to understand what a decision means before you make it. It’s important to be strategic about your decision-making because a choice you make now could have unanticipated future consequences.
Our lawyers will be by your side every step of the way. We’ll help you understand what accepting an option today might mean for the future–and we’ll help you with the legal jargon you might encounter from the prosecution.
We have decades of trial experience working on everything from juvenile drug cases to serious violent crimes. That means we’ve likely seen challenges similar to those you’re currently facing. We know how to help you navigate the process and make informed, smart decisions to protect the future.
Negotiate With Prosecutors On Your Behalf
Our lawyers are experienced and proven trial lawyers. In fact, we’re known for it. That means the prosecution often prefers to negotiate reduced charges rather than face off at trial.
We know how to negotiate with prosecutors to get the best deal possible for your child. We know the types of evidence they want to see in order to offer a more lenient deal.
When you hire us, we’ll put the full weight of our experience to work negotiating on your behalf. Our goal is to get the best outcome possible given the evidence at hand–and we don’t back down without a fight.
What Are Juvenile Crimes in Dallas, TX?
In Texas, a juvenile crime is any type of criminal offense committed by someone who is at least 10 years old, but not yet 17. Note, 17-year-olds can also be tried in the juvenile court systems under most circumstances.
Most criminal offenses simply mirror those found in the adult system. It’s the procedures and possible penalties that differ under juvenile law when minors engage in delinquent conduct.
Of course, some crimes are juvenile-specific. Offenses like truancy and underage drinking simply don’t apply in the adult context under Texas law. Our lawyers can help regardless of the charges you’re facing.
Common examples of juvenile crimes we handle include:
- Drug crimes
- Juvenile sex crimes
- Sexual assault
- Theft crimes
- Property crimes
- Computer crimes
- Violent crimes
If your child has been accused of these or any other criminal offenses, don’t hesitate to get help from an attorney who understands the Texas family code. The experience and skill of your Dallas juvenile criminal defense attorney can make all the difference in protecting your child’s future.
How Does the Texas Juvenile Criminal Justice System Work?
When your child is arrested as a minor, the courts have several options when it comes to deciding how to handle the case. After your child is arrested, there will be an intake/orientation process to evaluate probable cause.
The juvenile court can handle your case informally, meaning that your child will be sent home pending determination of the child’s punishment.
There is generally a presumption that your child will be sent home. The court can also decide to detain your child in a facility operated by the Texas Youth Commission if:
- There is a likelihood the child will leave the court’s jurisdiction
- The juvenile lacks proper supervision at home
- The juvenile has a prior juvenile record
- The juvenile poses a danger, either to himself or others
If this is the case, you have a right to a hearing on probable cause within 48 hours. Hearings are scheduled quickly in the juvenile justice system to minimize the amount of time your child spends detained–and to make sure that detention is only assigned as warranted.
To avoid trial, you might be offered a stipulation–which is essentially the same thing as pleading guilty. Our lawyers are here to evaluate whether a stipulation is in your child’s best interests given the evidence and circumstances.
What Happens During a Juvenile Trial?
In a juvenile trial, your child will not be found “guilty” or “not guilty”. Instead, the court decides whether the allegations are true or untrue. That determination is made during a first trial phase, where we will present evidence in your child’s defense.
After phase one, if the allegations are found to be true, a separate sentencing phase will begin. This is where the disposition, or punishment, will be determined. During this phase, our lawyers will present evidence designed to persuade the judge that detention is inappropriate given the circumstances.
What Happens if the Court Decides the Allegations Are True?
The juvenile court can charge your child with delinquent conduct, which can possibly lead to detention. If adjudicated delinquent, the child could be:
- Granted probation
- Sent to a secure, high-risk, detention facility
- Sent to a low to medium risk facility
If the child is assigned detention in a Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) facility, it’s important to understand that the length of that detention can be for an indefinite period. Often, a minimum length of stay is set in advance.
However, there is no guarantee that the juvenile will be released at the end of the stay period. Release depends upon a number of factors, including the child’s behavior and response to rehabilitative programs. If the child doesn’t complete a determinate sentence by age 19, they can be transferred to the adult prison system.
Can My Child Be Tried as an Adult?
It is possible that your child could be tried as an adult for an offense committed as a minor. In some cases, the prosecution will petition for a transfer hearing to determine whether a trial in adult court is more appropriate.
Factors relevant to whether the judge will order trial as an adult include:
- The severity of the crime
- Any previous criminal record
- The general criminal sophistication of the minor
- Whether previous attempts to rehabilitate the minor have failed
- The judge’s opinion as to whether rehabilitation will be successful
Our lawyers will do everything we can to prevent your child from standing trial as an adult. To learn more about how we can help, give us a call for a free consultation today.
Consequences of a Juvenile Criminal Conviction in Dallas
Most juvenile cases don’t result in detention. Juvenile detention facilities in Texas are reserved for the most serious juvenile offenses. However, the courts have substantial discretion in making their disposition even if detention is not called for.
The consequences of juvenile conviction can include:
- Mandatory community service
- Suspension of the minor’s driver’s license
- Referral to social services
- Deferred prosecution, which usually means the child will be given a six-month probation period and the case will only be prosecuted if the child violates the terms of probation
Of course, criminal conviction as a juvenile can have a detrimental impact on your child’s future education and employment opportunities.
Detention in a juvenile facility is the worst-case scenario. Our experienced juvenile defense attorneys will work to build the strongest case against detention.
Call a Dallas Juvenile Crimes Lawyer You Can Trust Today
Because of the far-reaching implications of a juvenile conviction, it’s important to get experienced legal help right away when faced with criminal charges. At Edgett Law Firm, we’ll fight to have the charges dropped or reduced if possible. We can also work to get your records expunged or sealed if you have an existing juvenile conviction.
Don’t hesitate to learn more about how our experienced attorneys will work to protect your child’s future. Call our law offices for a free consultation with a seasoned Dallas juvenile crimes lawyer today. We serve clients in Dallas, Fort Worth, Dallas County, Collin County and across North Texas.