Austin Juvenile Defense Lawyers
Protecting Your Child's Freedom
If your child is under 18 and is arrested for a crime in Texas, they will likely be charged as a juvenile. Should this occur, a parent or guardian will likely have many questions: Will my child go to jail? Will my child have a permanent criminal record? How is the juvenile justice system different from the criminal justice system?
While the purpose of juvenile charges is to rehabilitate, rather than punish, that does not make the experience any easier or less stressful. If your son or daughter is in trouble, here is what you need to know.
Juvenile Offenses Defined in TX
The term “juvenile offense” simply means any offense that is committed by someone between the ages of 10 and 16. For a minor offense, children are often given merely a warning. However, their case can also be referred to a probation officer and, for a serious offense, the district attorney may file charges.
Your Child’s Rights
The child’s parents must be notified when he or she is taken into custody. The child is then allowed two phone calls to a parent or guardian. Your child has all the same Constitutional rights as an adult in a similar situation, including the right to remain silent.
Once your child arrives at a juvenile facility, you have the right to visit your child and speak to him or her privately. You must also be notified of any proceedings involving your child.
Juvenile Charges are Different Than Adult Criminal Cases
Juvenile cases have aspects of both criminal and civil law. In a juvenile case, unlike an adult case, the child is treated as someone in need of rehabilitation. However, over the years, courts and prosecutors in Texas have started to move away from rehabilitation. A juvenile record can now follow a child into adulthood. This can make it substantially more difficult for them to get into college, the military or find a job. For this reason, one should aggressively fight any juvenile charges. Also, for the most serious types of charges, a juvenile can be certified and tried as an adult, and, if convicted, could have a permanent criminal record and face possible prison time.
Options Available to You Through an Austin Juvenile Defense Lawyer
There are many options available to you in a juvenile case.
- We can get the case dismissed by evaluating the evidence to determine if the State of Texas violated your Constitutional rights.
- We can get a deferred prosecution agreement (explained below).
- If your child does not like the previous options offered, he or she has a right to trial forcing the State to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Deferred Prosecution for Juvenile Cases in TX
Deferred prosecution is an option in some juvenile cases. Deferred prosecution is an agreement between the juvenile and the State of Texas. It usually lasts 6 months. If successfully completed, the prosecutor will dismiss the charges and the juvenile will have an immediate right to seal his or her records. In some cases, the prosecutor will be opposed to deferred prosecution. Austin juvenile defense lawyers at Smith & Vinson Law Firm have experience in persuading prosecutors to offer this type of agreement.
Investigation for Juvenile Charges in TX
Once your child has been taken into custody a probation officer will conduct an investigation. The probation officer will interview the child, evaluate his or her relationships, history with substance abuse, along with a number of other factors and give a recommendation as to what type of sentence should be offered. The probation officer will then complete a summary report that will be forwarded to the prosecutor handling the case. The experienced Austin juvenile attorney can and should obtain a copy of this report, review it, and negotiate with the prosecutor on your child’s behalf.
The Delinquency Petition
Most juvenile charges are handled by a delinquency petition. The judge will hold a hearing to determine whether your child committed the act he or she has been accused of. If it is determined that your child did commit the crime, the judge will then have to decide the best sentencing option.
Certification as an Adult
If your child is over the age of 14 and has either committed a serious offense or has a history of juvenile offense, he or she may be tried as an adult. Before this can happen, a certification hearing will be held. The judge will fully investigate your child’s case and determine whether your child should be tried as an adult.
If your child is in trouble and is facing juvenile charges, it is important that you have a competent Austin juvenile defense attorney at your side. Call Smith & Vinson Law Firm immediately so they can begin reviewing your child’s case.
How a Juvenile Defense Attorney Can Help Your Family
A juvenile defense attorney can provide invaluable assistance to your family in several ways:
- Legal Expertise: Juvenile defense attorneys are knowledgeable about the juvenile justice system and the specific laws that apply to minors. They can explain the legal process to you and your child, ensuring that you understand your rights and options.
- Protection of Rights: A juvenile defense attorney will advocate for your child's rights throughout the legal process. They will ensure that your child is treated fairly and that their constitutional rights are upheld.
- Case Evaluation and Strategy: An attorney can evaluate the details of your child's case to develop a strategic defense. They will consider all available evidence, witness statements, and legal precedents to build a strong defense on your child's behalf.
- Negotiation and Advocacy: Your attorney can negotiate with prosecutors to seek reduced charges or alternative sentencing options that may be more appropriate for your child's situation. They can also advocate for your child in court, presenting arguments and evidence to support their case.
- Knowledge of Resources: Juvenile defense attorneys often have connections to resources that can help your child, such as counseling services, educational programs, or community support programs. They can provide referrals to these resources to address any underlying issues contributing to your child's behavior.
Overall, a juvenile defense attorney can be a valuable ally for your family, providing legal expertise, advocacy, and support during a challenging time.
Austin Juvenile Criminal Lawyers
Our aggressive Austin juvenile defense attorneys serve clients in Austin, Williamson County, Travis County, Hays County, and all of the surrounding areas in Texas. Smith & Vinson Law Firm takes your juvenile charges seriously and will fight hard to protect your child's constitutional rights. Both Jarrod Smith and Brad Vinson will always help you seek the best possible resolution for your case.
Smith and Vinson are absolutely incredible! They go above and beyond to help their clients and have a track record of success in getting cases dismissed. Their aggressive approach and unwavering dedication make them stand out from the rest.- Linda W.
What sets this firm apart is their unwavering dedication to their clients. They listen attentively, provide clear guidance, and approach every case with the utmost diligence. Their attention to detail is truly impressive, and they leave no stone unturned.- Former Client
When in battle you need people by your side who are fierce enough to face the opposition with you. Brad and Jarod far exceeded my expectations with their passion for winning and attention to detail.- Nikki C.
After the Jury was selected, the first witness was called to the stand, and Brad and Jarrod imploded the State's case. Moments later, the case was dismissed. I couldn't be any more thankful for Smith & Vinson.- Former Client
Case Dismissed Terroristic Threat
Our client was reportedly heard making terroristic threats by some members of his seventh-grade class. Police charged him with a felony. Our client was a boy scout who was well-liked by teachers but had developed ADHD and was being bullied.
Not Guilty DWI .22 Blood Warrant
This was the 2nd time we tried this case. First one ended in a mistrial last year. 911 caller reported 2 people leaving a restaurant belligerent and stumbling. Officer arrived on scene, conducted field sobriety tests and arrested client for DWI. Client refused to provide a sample. Warrant was obtained and blood came back a .22.
Case Dismissed DWI
Our client was stopped by a police officer for driving the wrong way down a one-way street. A Blood Warrant was issued, and the test came back .09. Our client was new to the area and attempting to get a job. Pleading guilty to a DWI was not an option. After negotiating with the prosecutor, our firm was able to get the DWI charge dismissed after successful completion of 18 months deferred prosecution.
Rejected Pre-Indictment Aggravated Assault Strangulation/Impeding Airway Investigation
Case Dismissed POCS Felony
Our client was charged with a State Jail Felony while stopped for traffic violation in Williamson County. The officers searched the car and found THC oil pens. He was arrested for a felony. We found issues with the search and our investigation uncovered additional issues with the investigation. We pressed the prosecutor on these issues and, coupled with the clean UA’s we had our client take, the case was dismissed.