Important Information for Those Accused of a Juvenile Offense

Every parent dreads getting the call from law enforcement saying their child has been arrested and charged with a crime. However, sadly these things can happen and it’s important to be prepared and know what to expect if it does. Making a rash decision could have a negative impact on your child’s case, so to help you make a good decision, here is some basic juvenile crime information you need to know.

Juvenile Court Eligibility

Depending on the nature of your child’s charges and their age, their case could and most likely will be heard in juvenile court. Those who are aged 17 and below and facing misdemeanor charges almost exclusively have their cases heard in juvenile court. This is the case for most common juvenile crimes, which include simple assault, shoplifting, drug abuse, disorderly conduct, and curfew violations.

That being said, serious crimes, such as violent felonies, can be sent to general court to be heard. However, your child and their attorney will be given the opportunity to petition to have it moved back to juvenile court before the proceedings begin. For this reason, it’s important to start consulting with a McKinney criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible when your child is arrested.

Juvenile Court Procedures

Juvenile courts are vastly different from general adult criminal courts. Generally, judges, officials, the police, and prosecutors can be much more informal in juvenile courts than they would be in an adult court, and this could be both beneficial and harmful to your child’s case. For example, your child does not have the right to have their case heard by a jury unless their case is transferred to adult court.

On the plus side, however that could mean their case never even reaches the point of an adjudicatory hearing and therefore they aren’t subject to the same harsh sentences they could face if their trial were to proceed in adult court.

Sentencing

If the defendant is convicted in juvenile court or pleads guilty, the courts have a lot more freedom to be lenient with sentencing requirements. While some of those who are convicted are sent to a traditional juvenile detention facility for a certain amount of time, other cases simply result in the child being placed under house arrest. Most of the time, there is no detention penalty at all, and instead a child is required to undergo counseling and probation that may also include an extended curfew.

For more information on juvenile cases or to get help from an experienced attorney, Call The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. today at (214) 981-1441 and schedule a case evaluation!
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