For most parents, getting notification of your child’s arrest in Plano, TX is like something out of a nightmare. Of course, the aim of the juvenile justice system is to help steer your child in the right direction.
Realistically, you’re right to feel a bit overwhelmed if your child has been arrested. A conviction for a juvenile crime can impact your child’s immediate future. It can also follow them into adulthood. You need a strong Plano juvenile crimes lawyer to fight for your child’s future.
At the Edgett Law Firm, our lawyers focus solely on criminal defense. We have the experience and resources you need to minimize damage to your child’s future. If your child has been arrested or is suspected of delinquent activity, call for a free consultation with an experienced Plano juvenile criminal defense attorney today.
How the Plano Criminal Defense Lawyers at the Edgett Law Firm Can Fight Your Child’s Juvenile Charges
As soon as you become aware that your child was arrested or is suspected of engaging in delinquent behavior, it’s important to call a Plano criminal defense lawyer. Many parents are tempted to use their family lawyers.
That can be a mistake even though juvenile cases are technically handled in civil court. Your child’s lawyer should have experience building the types of criminal defense strategies that work to beat the charges.
Regardless of how the case is handled, most juvenile and adult crimes are identical in their definitions.
Our lawyers want to help you get through this difficult time. When you hire the Edgett Law Firm, you can expect us to:
Get the Facts Straight
A solid negotiation can make or break your case. We have the resources, tools, and contacts needed to conduct a comprehensive investigation to get the facts. We’ll interview witnesses and locate evidence that can be key to preventing the prosecution from proving their case.
Negotiate With Prosecutors
Our comprehensive approach to investigations works to our advantage when we meet with the prosecutors. Our attorneys will use the facts and evidence we have uncovered to make the strongest possible case for leniency.
You probably know that the justice system is focused on rehabilitating juveniles. Prosecutors and judges do, however, have the authority to impose harsh punishments–including detention. That’s the last thing you want to happen.
Our attorneys have nearly two decades of experience working on cases like this. We know the types of evidence and information the prosecution needs to see. We’ll work tirelessly to build a strong case against the need for detention.
Help Your Child Understand the Justice System
In the eyes of the justice system, your child has the same rights as an adult. That means your child does not have to answer police questions without an attorney present. While your child probably already knows that from watching television, a juvenile’s knowledge of the system can be filled with myths.
Our lawyers will work with you and your family to help you understand what to expect. We’ll evaluate your case, explain your options, and help you understand the consequences of any choices you’re asked to make.
A mistake does not have to define your child’s future. We put decades of proven success into protecting your child.
The Edgett Law Firm Handles All Juvenile Crimes Cases in Plano, TX
Our lawyers handle all types of juvenile crimes cases in Plano. Some of the more common juvenile cases we see include:
- Status crimes, including underage drinking, truancy, running away from home, tobacco use
- Shoplifting and theft crimes
- Drug crimes
- Vandalism and property crimes
- Sex crimes
- Computer crimes
- Violent crimes
Regardless of the type of crime alleged, it’s important to take the charges seriously. Our lawyers have been fighting to protect minors in Texas for years. If your son or daughter has been arrested, charged, or if you’ve received a delinquent conduct notice, call to discuss your options today.
Overview of the Juvenile Justice System in Texas
Most cases involving minors between the ages of 10 and 17 years old proceed through the juvenile justice system in Texas. In extremely serious cases, children who are over the age of 14 can be tried in adult court.
Here is a basic overview of the Texas juvenile justice process. For more specific information about your child’s case, give us a call, and speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Initial Intake Process
The first step in the juvenile justice process is generally intake. During the intake process, the prosecutors will determine whether there is probable cause to charge your child with a crime. Most likely, your child will be released from custody even if charged with a crime.
Under extenuating circumstances, your child may be detained if he or she:
- Has a prior criminal record
- Is deemed a flight risk
- Is found to lack needed supervision at home
- Is found to be dangerous, whether to himself/herself or the public
Our lawyers can get to work even during these initial stages. We can work behind the scenes and fight to convince the prosecutor that a formal criminal charge is unnecessary and inappropriate.
Adjudication and Disposition
If your child is charged, the adjudication process will begin. We refer to the state’s attorneys as prosecutors, but the technical term for “prosecution” in the juvenile system is “adjudication.” Rather than being found “guilty” or “not guilty,” your child will be adjudicated delinquent or not.
Some of the basics mirror adult court. Our attorneys will present evidence and argue on your child’s behalf. However, judges have much more discretion in determining the appropriate disposition. They’ll also take factors into consideration that are usually irrelevant in adult court, including:
- Family history
- Whether some form of rehabilitation is likely to work
- Past criminal activity
- Past behavior, in terms of school and participation in the community
Even before formal proceedings begin, our lawyers will work to convince the judge that an alternative to adjudication is more appropriate given the circumstances and evidence.
Alternatives to Adjudication
Prosecutors in juvenile cases don’t have to charge your child with a crime right away. Like judges, they have the discretion to consider whether an alternative might be more helpful and appropriate.
Our lawyers will work to persuade the prosecutor that it’s unnecessary to file a formal petition against your child. Some alternatives that the prosecutor might consider include:
- Community service
- Counseling, whether in the form of drug and alcohol counseling, anger management, anti-theft, or otherwise
- Obeying a curfew
- Attending school regularly
- Attending weekly meetings, often with parents present
- Avoiding any further criminal activity
- Paying restitution and/or apologizing to any victims
It’s possible that the prosecutors might be convinced to impose some conditions for a period of time, much like juvenile probation. If your child successfully completes the terms, the district attorney can drop the charges.
That way, your child will never be formally convicted of the crime. The Plano prosecutors tend to be more willing to explore alternatives for first-offenders who are charged with non-violent misdemeanors. However, there are no guarantees. You need the best possible advocate in your corner and our lawyers are ready to step in.
For more information about these options, call our law offices to discuss your case in more detail with a criminal lawyer in Dallas County today.
Consequences of a Juvenile Crimes Conviction in Plano, TX
As noted, judges have significant discretion in doling out punishment in juvenile criminal cases. Potential consequences will always depend upon the severity of the crime and the general circumstances. They might include:
- Detention in a juvenile detention facility
- Community service
- Testing for drug or alcohol use
- Driver’s license suspension
- GPS monitoring
Judges in juvenile cases have the discretion to tailor any punishment to your child’s specific situation. In other words, the judge can consider much more than the current charge before them. Our lawyers will work to present the case in the most favorable light possible.
Defense Strategies to Fight the Charges
Many of the defense strategies that are effective in adult cases are also relevant in juvenile cases. After all, the criminal offenses themselves are defined in the same manner. If the prosecutors can’t provide sufficient evidence that your child committed the crime, we’ll fight to get the charges thrown out.
Possible defense strategies may include:
- Mistaken identity
- Constitutional violations
- Problems with any scientific or hard evidence presented
- Challenges to witness credibility
Juvenile court is unique. That’s because judges consider a much broader range of issues that extend beyond whether the child actually committed the offense.
Your attorney’s skill and experience can be crucial to preventing an adjudication of delinquency. To learn more about our law offices and how we can help, don’t hesitate to call our experienced Plano, Texas criminal defense lawyers.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Plano Juvenile Crimes Lawyer Today
If your child was arrested or detailed in Plano, don’t take a chance on their future. Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer greatly increases the chances of resolving your case successfully.
To learn more about how our experienced Plano juvenile crimes lawyer can help, call the Edgett Law Firm for a 100% free consultation today. We take our attorney-client relationships seriously and are here to fight on your behalf.