At Mary Conn Law, we take juvenile criminal defense very seriously. If you face a juvenile criminal charge, so should you. Depending on the offense, your child could even face adult-level penalties.
Juvenile justice requires the help of an experienced Houston attorney. You need someone familiar with Texas law and proficiency in navigating the juvenile court system. Mary Conn Law is here to help.
What Classifies as Juvenile Crime?
Starting at age 10, children can face a criminal charge in Texas. Once a child turns 17 years old, the law considers them an adult under the Texas Penal Code. Children may then face the same charges as adults, ranging from class C misdemeanors to capital felonies.
Children ages 15 and up risk adult certification. If deemed an adult, they move to the adult criminal justice system. For capital offenses, 14-year-olds can receive adult certification.
If your child faces a felony offense, you need a defense attorney to protect their rights. Once a child enters the adult criminal justice system, they face extreme risks for their future and won’t receive the rehabilitative services offered to juveniles.
The Risks of Jail Time for Juveniles
Studies show that incarcerated children have an increased likelihood of future criminal behavior. In addition, people incarcerated as children experience worse physical and mental health as adults. Jailed juveniles also risk sexual trauma while incarcerated which can lead to lifelong issues.
If your child faces potential incarceration for a criminal charge, a strong defense can help you achieve a better outcome. Avoiding or limiting the amount of time in detention benefits your child’s future.
How Texas Deals with Juvenile Offenders
The goal of juvenile offenders in Texas is rehabilitation. For the state, rehabilitation programs are more affordable than juvenile incarceration. Plus, the long-term costs for society are greater with incarceration.
For juvenile charges, defendants aren’t determined to be guilty or not guilty. The ruling determines if the juvenile engaged in delinquent conduct. If so, the court establishes the defendant needs rehabilitation. That may include a range of consequences from probation to incarceration.
Penalties in juvenile court are also different from adult convictions. In adult court, sentencing has a specified range based on the charge. This does not apply in juvenile court.
Many juveniles face tough penalties upon conviction of a crime. Even though we know the negative effects of incarceration, many juvenile offenders still receive detention in a juvenile facility.
The tough-on-crime attitude that prevailed in the 1990s continues to impact the criminal justice system. Especially for violent crimes, there’s often pressure to try children as adults. However, a strong defense puts you in a better position to represent your best interests.
How to Build a Strong Defense Against Juvenile Criminal Charges
Don’t take the chance with your child’s future. The best thing you can do for a juvenile charge is to build a strong defense. You need an experienced team on your side. Your child’s future is too important to face this burden alone.
Mary Conn Law represents juvenile offenders. We work together at each stage of the process.
Contact us quickly to put yourself in the best position for success.