The large majority of parents don’t anticipate seeing their child get arrested or be accused of a criminal offense. When this happens, many are ill prepared and unable to provide their child with the best possible advocacy. Here’s what you should know about young offenders in the Fort Bend criminal justice system.
In Texas, minors who are between the ages of 10 and 17 can be processed through juvenile court. Once an individual reaches the age of 18, they are considered a legal adult and would be tried in a traditional court of law.
There are several crimes that are likely to result in juveniles being treated as a legal adult instead going through the juvenile justice system. Usually, these are violent crimes or offenses that have resulted in serious damages, like arson or the theft of expensive merchandise. The defendant’s age plays a role as well; younger defendants are less likely to face harsh penalties.
You and your minor child need to know what to expect when you arrive at court for their hearing at the assigned date and time. First, you may be surprised to learn that your child won’t have their case heard by a jury. Instead, the judge presiding over the case will hear and ponder the evidence before issuing their verdict.
Another difference to note is that not all parts of the process are called the same thing, even though the processes themselves are similar between juvenile and adult court. For example, a minor is served a petition instead of a criminal complaint, and they are adjudicated — not convicted.
Although juveniles may seem to be at a disadvantage in court because they don’t have access to a jury, they are more likely than adults to be offered creative rehabilitation strategies versus lengthy penalties that don’t do much in the way of reducing the risk of recidivism.
Being arrested or charged with a criminal offense puts your child’s future at risk. It’s imperative that you take action as soon as possible to protect their legal rights. A juvenile criminal defense attorney can help you advocate for your child throughout their case. Call 281.570.6400 today for your initial consultation.