The state of Texas takes crimes committed by children seriously — more seriously than most states. In the past few years, the state has been more active in prosecuting youth for their crimes. They have also been more willing to prosecute minors as adults. When a juvenile commits a crime in Texas, they have a lot at stake.
Here at Cole Paschall Law, we understand what your child has to lose. We believe that today’s youth deserve a chance at a better future. A criminal record can destroy the opportunity for a good life. For that reason, we work hard to represent our clients. And a Fort Worth juvenile crime attorney could improve your chances at beating the charges against your child.
What You Should Know About Juvenile Crime?
1. What is Delinquent Conduct?
Delinquent conduct is when a juvenile commits a violation of the law or disobeys a court order. According to the Juvenile Justice Code, it can be any law violation other than a traffic offense. It may be punished by imprisonment or jail time.
2. What is CINS?
If a minor commits a less serious crime, they may be guilty of Conduct Indicating a Need for Supervision, or CINS. For instance, public intoxication, violating student conduct, and violating child-at-risk orders are all examples of CINS.
The term also refers to non-criminal activities, such as truancy, running away, and inhaling paint. Because the activities are not as severe as some behaviors, the consequences tend to be less harsh.
3. What Should You Do if You Get a Summons?
If you receive a summons, you should take immediate action. The notice tells you that charges were filed against your child. Additionally, it notifies you that they must appear in juvenile court.
You will receive the summons a minimum of two days prior to the hearing. In the notice, you can find details about the location, time, and date of the event. It will include a copy of the document that describes the accusations of delinquent conduct.
The outcome of the case can profoundly impact your child’s life. Therefore, you should try to find a Fort Worth criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. They can help you understand the summons and come up with a strategy for getting a good outcome.
4. What Rights Do the Parents Have?
As a parent of a juvenile charged with a crime, you have certain rights. For one, you have the right to speak with your child in private. You also have the right to know the following information:
- When the police took the child into custody
- The name of the offense
- Whether or not a weapon was involved
- The names of other individuals also taken into custody
5. What Are Common Types of Criminal Charges?
Juveniles can be charged with an array of crimes. Typically, minors are charged with drug offenses, theft, drunk driving, and vandalism. Crimes can vary from minor to serious violent crimes.
Regardless of the magnitude of the crime, the court takes the conduct seriously. They do not turn a blind eye to illegal activity committed by juveniles.
About the Process
The process of charging a child with a crime can be complex. After the police take the child into custody, there is a detention hearing. This hearing is informal, but you could still benefit from having an attorney present.
Then, there is an adjudication hearing. Similar to a trial in an adult criminal case, this court day is crucial to the outcome of the case. Although sentencing does not usually occur at this hearing, the court decides on the guilt or innocence of the minor.
Finally, there is a disposition hearing. At this hearing, the court issues a sentence. A disposition happens when the court decides the child is in need of rehabilitation or protection from themselves or to the public.
Appealing a Decision
If you don’t agree with the court’s decision, you can make an appeal. The success of your appeal depends on the situation. In some cases, the court did not apply the law fairly so an appeal seeks to remedy that. An attorney can help you fight for the appeal.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With a Fort Worth Juvenile Crime Attorney Today
In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, 26% of the population is under the age of 18. In 2017, 547 juveniles were placed on probation in Tarrant County alone. Many others were incarcerated or served some other type of sentence. While some of those minors will never find themselves in a courtroom, others are likely to be charged with a juvenile crime.
If your child is facing criminal charges, you deserve all the help you can get. Contact Cole Paschall Law for assistance and guidance.