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Austin Juvenile Defense Lawyers

Defending Minors Against Juvenile Charges in Texas

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.

Contact our Austin juvenile defense attorneys today by calling (512) 359-3743 to discuss your options!

Understanding Juvenile Offenses in Texas

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.

Your Rights

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.

How Juvenile Charges Differ from 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.

Investigative Process in Juvenile Cases

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 an Austin Juvenile Defense Attorney Can Support 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.

Contact Smith & Vinson Law Firm Today

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.

Contact our office today for a free initial consultation. Call our Austin juvenile defense attorneys at (512) 359-3743.


Our Client Reviews

Earning Our Reputation by Protecting Yours
  • 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

    A Proven Track Record

    Check Out Our Recent Case Results
    • Not Guilty 2nd DWI

      911 caller reported a major rollover, single car accident. EMS and fire arrived on scene. They had to break the window to get our client out of the car. He said he had swerved to miss a deer and had been up close to 18 hours before the crash. Police later arrived on scene, spoke to our client and he admitted to coming from a bar and drinking 2 martinis.

    • Not Guilty 2nd DWI

      Our client was pulled over for a traffic violation. Officer smelled alcohol, client admitted to consuming a few drinks. Officer also noted slurred speech and bloodshot eyes. Client performed the SFST’s (roadside tests). Officer said he failed all 3, eye test, walk and turn and one-leg stand. Officer placed client under arrest and asked him for a sample of breath and/or blood. Client refused. Officer did not get a blood warrant.

    • Case Dismissed 2nd DWI

      Our client was involved in a vehicle accident in La Grange where she was ejected from the vehicle and had to stay in the hospital. There was alcohol in the car, and she had prior DWIs. The ethanol levels in her blood came back at a .13 so she was charged with Driving While Intoxicated. This client was unaware that she was charged after she left the hospital which resulted in the charge of Bail Jumping. However she maintained that she had only an 8% functioning liver due and upon researching her medical hist

    • Deferred Adjudication Aggravated Assault & Tampering with Evidence

      Our client was involved in a verbal dispute that turned into an altercation where a firearm was discharged into the ground. The round ricocheted and grazed a party to the dispute. Our client was facing multiple felony convictions and a prison sentence.

    • Deferred Adjudication Aggravated Assault Family Violence w/ Serious Bodily Injury

      Our client was involved in a domestic altercation that resulted in one of the parties sustaining a very serious life -altering injury that required serious medical intervention. We took the case and approached our defense with heavy strong willed negotiations with the State.

    • Rejected Pre-Indictment Aggravated Assault Strangulation/Impeding Airway Investigation

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