If you are a parent in Texas and your child has broken the law you should realize that the juvenile justice system in Texas is very different than the adult criminal justice system. Minors from 10 to 17 who break the law can be arrested and subject to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court system...and guess what? So are you as the parent. You can be required to pay the juvenile attorney for your child as well as any services the court orders for the child and court and probation costs!
Generally speaking, kids end up getting into the system for either minor charges such as drinking under age or driving under age or far more serious charges such as vandalism, burglary, robbery or aggravated assault and murder etc...if your child is a first time offender for a minor offense he or she may get off with just a warning or an informal disposition which means the probation department can require the child to do certain things without having to attend court or face a Judge.
If your child commits a more serious offense or is a habitual law breaker then he or she will be arrested and forced into a very serious system that can affect you and your child for years to come. If this happens to you it is very important to contact an attorney very experienced in the intricacies of the juvenile justice system.
If your child is arrested he or she will face the following process:
The first step after arrest is juvenile detention. Detention is basically a temporary holding of your child in a holding facility (kid jail). Your child may be held there until released by the court or until proceedings are concluded. If your child is detained the Texas Family Code section 54.01 (a) provides that he or she is entitled to a hearing within one working day or on the first business day after a weekend arrest. So what's the purpose of the hearing? Well, the Judge decides if detention is necessary to ensure the child's appearance in court or for the safety of the community - generally speaking, the more serious the offense the more likely it is your child will be detained. If your child is detained at the hearing he or she stays in custody and every 10 days thereafter the court will have a new detention hearing to determine whether the detention will continue.
In subsequent posts, I will explain the process of first appearance, transfer hearings, competency hearings, adjudication hearings, disposition hearings and appeals. It is critical if your child has been arrested for an offense in Texas that you talk to an attorney experienced in Texas juvenile law immediately to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your child. I have been handling juvenile cases for over 14 years as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney. My firm will handle your child's Texas juvenile case in Bexar county juvenile courts as well as the following counties: Atacosta, Bandera, Blanco, Comal, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hays, Kendall. Kerr, Medina, Travis