If you're a parent of a child arrested in Texas and find you and your child embroiled in the Texas Juvenile Justice system you can expect a series of hearings depending on the age of your child and the seriousness of the offense. The first appearance is usually where the court ensures the child has an attorney. It is important for you to hire an attorney experienced in Texas Juvenile law as early as possible so you can be represented at this first appearance.
The first appearance is the best appearance for me to talk to prosecutors and probation officers and determine whether there can be an early disposition of your child's case(otherwise known as a plea agreement or plea bargain). The best result or outcome of any case where an offense has been charged whether in adult court or Juvenile court is a dismissal. The first appearance is where the file can be reviewed to assess the strength of the evidence against your child. Also, it's a good time to inform the prosecution of facts and mitigating factors they are not aware of and perhaps gain a dismissal. Short of a dismissal the best outcome in most Juvenile cases is deferred prosecution.
Deferred prosecution is different than deferred adjudication in adult cases. In deferred prosecution the child is put on probation - usually for six months. If your child completes your probation satisfactorily there is no adjudication of guilt - the equivalent of a conviction. Hiring a good lawyer experienced in Juvenile law can help get this disposition and save your child from an adjudication of guilt (or conviction).
If there is no disposition or plea bargain then the case will either proceed to a adjudication or a transfer hearing.
In subsequent posts, I will explain the process of the adjudication hearing and the transfer hearing. 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 you child's Texas juvenile case in San Antonio, Bexar county juvenile courts as well as the following counties: Atacosta, Bandera, Blanco, Comal, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hays, Kendall. Kerr, Medina, Travis