While the vast majority of crimes in Texas are committed by adults, juveniles can also be arrested and charged. For both parents and children, this can be a frightening time, so it is important to know a few things going into it. Below, we’ll discuss some of the most important questions regarding juvenile crime in Texas, and what both parents and children should know.
1. Is a conviction going to ruin my child’s future?
In the case of a juvenile, the state of Texas does not “convict”. If there is enough evidence against your child, he or she will be found to have engaged in what’s called “delinquent behavior”. Under the law, this is not the same thing as being convicted or found guilty and will allow your child to state on any job applications and other forms that they have not been convicted of a crime.
2. Will my child need an attorney?
Yes, your child will need to be represented by an attorney throughout the court process. He or she will need a criminal defense attorney familiar with Texas juvenile law, as well, as these laws vary quite a bit from those that apply to adults. Note that if you do not or cannot provide an attorney for your child, one will be appointed by the court, but you may be liable for reimbursement of attorney’s fees. It’s always recommended that you choose your own attorney, though.
3. Will my child’s court records be sealed?
In some cases, your child’s records may be sealed. In others, they will not. It depends on the nature of the crime (misdemeanor or felony), as well as how long after the crime we’re talking about. For instance, in the case of a misdemeanor, the records will be sealed after a two-year period during which your child has not since been convicted of any crime. In the case of a felony charge, it is up to the judge whether the records will be sealed or not, but sealing cannot take place before the child turns 21 and he or she cannot have any additional charges or actions against them.
Is your child facing criminal charges? No matter how mild those may seem, it is imperative that he or she have experienced legal representation in court. Contact the Blacknall Firm today at 214-678-9111 to schedule a consultation.