Southlake Juvenile Defense Attorneys
Compassionate Legal Professionals Fighting to Protect the Futures of Young People in Texas
When a child is accused of committing a criminal offense, they may be arrested, charged, held in a detention facility, and tried, just like an adult. A juvenile criminal record of any kind can jeopardize a child’s future and limit their access to educational and professional opportunities. If you are a minor or the parent of a minor who has been charged with a juvenile crime, you need legal professionals who are familiar with how to successfully navigate the intricacies of Texas’s juvenile justice system, which operates separately from and differently than the adult criminal justice system. You need the experienced team at Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, PLLC.
Our Southlake juvenile defense lawyers emphatically believe that every minor accused of a crime deserves the right to quality legal representation. We are prepared to aggressively fight to protect the rights and futures of juveniles facing charges of all kinds, from shoplifting to arson to assault to arson. When you come to our firm for help, we will carefully review your circumstances, walk you through your rights, and help you explore your options as we seek the best possible outcome.
To schedule an initial consultation, call (817) 497-8148 or contact us online. Se habla español.
What Happens When a Juvenile Is Arrested for a Crime?
Like with an adult, a juvenile in Texas can only be arrested and taken into custody if a member of law enforcement has probable cause to believe they have broken the law. Under the Texas Family Code, law enforcement may also arrest a juvenile who is engaging in “delinquent conduct” or conduct that indicates a need for supervision. A law enforcement officer does not necessarily need an arrest warrant to detain a juvenile.
Arrested juveniles must be promptly taken to a juvenile processing office. Their parents (or legal guardian) must be notified of their location and the allegations without unnecessary delay. A hearing must then be held within 48 hours of the juvenile being taken into custody. At this hearing, it will be determined whether the juvenile will be held in detention or released ahead of their first court appearance.
Parents (and juveniles) should understand that state law requires an accused juvenile to be represented by a juvenile attorney. Do not listen to any insinuation that your child does not need a lawyer. As soon as you learn your child has been detained (or you as a minor have been detained), assert your right to legal representation and get in touch with our Southlake juvenile defense attorneys. We will make every effort to get juveniles accused of crimes released ahead of their next court appearance.
When Is a Juvenile Tried as an Adult in Texas?
You may have heard about cases where a juvenile is tried as an adult. This can occur only under certain circumstances. The juvenile’s age at the time of the alleged crime and the severity of the offense will influence whether the prosecutor seeks to try a juvenile as an adult. Should the juvenile judge approve such an effort, the juvenile will be transferred to and tried in an adult criminal court. A juvenile tried as an adult will also generally face the same potential penalties as an adult would if convicted.
If a juvenile is currently under the age of 18, they can only potentially be tried as an adult if:
- They were at least 14 years old but less than 17 years old at the time they allegedly committed the criminal offense and were charged with capital murder, an aggravated controlled substance felony, or a first-degree felony
- They were at least 15 years old but less than 17 years old at the time they allegedly committed the criminal offense and were charged with a state jail felony or a second- or third-degree felony
But what happens when a juvenile turns 18 before they are charged? Fortunately, juveniles are not automatically charged as adults in these instances. When a juvenile is 18 years of age or older, prosecutors can only seek to try them as an adult for a crime allegedly committed while they were a juvenile if they can show the state could not pursue a trial for reasons beyond its control prior to their 18th birthday, new evidence was discovered after they turned 18, or they could not be located until after they turned 18.
When deciding whether to try a juvenile as an adult, a judge will consider:
- The maturity of the juvenile
- The nature and severity of the alleged offense
- The juvenile’s criminal record
- Whether successful rehabilitation appears possible within the juvenile system
Our team at Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, PLLC understands how to craft compelling arguments designed to keep juveniles from being tried as adults. We are well-versed in how to effectively combat the strategies Texas prosecutors frequently use in these scenarios.
What Are the Consequences of a Juvenile Conviction in Texas?
A juvenile convicted of a serious offense may be committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department until they turn 19. Alternatively, they could be placed on probation until they turn 18. Probationary requirements may include mandatory school and work attendance, periodic drug testing, counseling, drug treatment, curfews, and regular meetings with probationary officers.
Certain types of convictions may also result in a temporary revocation of a juvenile’s driving license or restrictions on obtaining one. This will limit a juvenile’s ability to travel to school or work.
Because certain convictions must be disclosed in many types of applications, having a juvenile criminal record will also make it substantially harder for someone to get a job, secure housing, or seek higher education later in life. A juvenile convicted of a sex crime may even be required to register as a sex offender, further limiting opportunities.
Can a Juvenile Criminal Record Be Sealed in Texas?
Juvenile criminal records are generally considered “restricted” by default. This does not mean that they are “sealed,” meaning some third parties can still access them. Fortunately, some juvenile criminal records can be sealed under certain circumstances if proper actions are taken. Our Southlake juvenile defense lawyers can assess your situation, determine your eligibility, and help you seal your or your child’s records.
Has your child been accused of a crime in Southlake, TX? Do not wait to call (817) 497-8148 or contact us online to get tailored legal advice.
The Opinions That Matter Most
My questions were heard and answered without having to ask twice.
“Value a capable team with experienced staff. For the past 9 months, the folks at the Law Offices of Mark Childress handled my case with class and empathy. My questions were heard and answered without having to ask twice. I felt like I was kept in the loop and always briefed properly. As I move forward with other ventures I wouldn't be surprised if we crossed paths again. And hats off to Konner, THANK YOU!”
Mark was there to answer every question, every phone call and did it in a way that I felt as if I were his only client.
“I needed an attorney who would stand up for me and my child during a very hard time. Mark was there to answer every question, every phone call and did it in a way that I felt as if I were his only client. He was very knowledgeable not only about the law but about the opposing attorney and the judge. He prepared me well and we won our case. I would recommend Mark Childress to anyone who is fighting for custody or in need of child support.”
I highly recommend him and his staff. They are courteous, prompt and they care.
“I called in inquiring about a divorce and how it all happens. I had 2 people call me back within an hour and in an hour maybe 2 I was talking with the lawyer. I highly recommend him and his staff. They are courteous, prompt and they care. Divorce is the hardest thing we will go through minus losing a kid and his team will be retained. He even called me back himself the next day to see how I was. Great service.”
This guy is amazing. In a matter of minutes, he accomplished what no other attorney could in 6 years.
“This guy is amazing. In a matter of minutes, he accomplished what no other attorney could in 6 years. He had my case figured out in 1short conversation and had what he called "a convoluted mess" fixed. I'm pretty sure my ex felt like he'd been hit by a bus. My family is finally in tact and everyone is finally happy.”
Direct Access To Your Attorney
Our Attorneys personally handle each case themselves. You will have direct access to your attorney to be able to get the answers that you need.
TransparencyHonesty and transparency are critical in building trust with your attorney. You will always know what is going on with your case every step of the way.
At our firm you're not just a case number, our staff will always know the status of your case and help to make your situation more manageable.
Personalized ApproachOur team understands that no two cases are the same. Your strategy will be tailored specifically to you and your family's goals.