Juvenile Crimes

Juvenile Crimes: The Facts Behind a Juvenile Offense

Juvenile Crimes

Juvenile crimes are illegal acts performed by a minor who is typically under the age of 18. These crimes are also called juvenile delinquency, youth crimes or juvenile offenses. Depending on the type and the severity of an occurrence, a minor may be tried as an adult. The penalties can be extensive and may leave a permanent record.

Possible Juvenile Crime Penalties

The penalties for a youth crime in Texas greatly depends on the age of the child, the type of crime and any previous criminal record. First-time offenders are often referred to residential placement or probation combined with counseling. However, the court can also waive the jurisdiction and transfer the case to the adult criminal system as needed. If the child enters the juvenile legal system, the options for defense become limited and should be handled by an experienced attorney. The possible consequences can include the following:

  • Confinement in juvenile detention
  • Reimbursement to the victim (restitution)
  • Prolonged probationary period
  • Inclusion of information about the crime in one’s permanent record
  • Diagnostic testing and psychological evaluations
  • Drug or alcohol counseling

The Juvenile Offense Process

If the arrest takes place, the offender will be most likely transported to the police station for booking. The process begins with recording the personal information such as the name and address. It is then followed by fingerprinting and photographs. Any statements obtained during the booking are documented. The child has the right to refuse to answer any questions until he or she can retain the help of a lawyer.

The minor cannot be held in an adult jail for longer than six hours and must be transferred to a juvenile facility or released into the custody of the minor’s parents or guardians. In some instances, the case may be diverted, allowing the child to enter a rehabilitation program, social services organizations or counseling without the necessity of dealing with the judicial system.

If the juvenile probation department decides on formal intervention by the juvenile court, the defendant’s attorney fights the prosecution to have the case dismissed and the charges lessened. During the hearing, the prosecution may also request for the case to be referred to an adult criminal court if the previous methods of intervention have not been successful. Every effort is implemented to use the most aggressive methods to protect the child’s rights and offer alternate venues of rehabilitation.

For more information about juvenile offenses, call 713-877-9400 to speak to an attorney at Madrid Law.

Three Teens Charged with Capital Murder in Death of Teen

Criminal Sentencing/Punishments | Juvenile Crimes | Murder | Violent Crimes

Three teens in Harris County have been charged with Capital Murder in the death of another teen. According to this story, the victim was in the car with another male after buying Air Jordan shoes when an armed individual got out of a car and demanded the shoes. The victim was then shot by another individual. After being shot, the victim tried to drive away but crashed into two houses. The victim later died.

A Review of Capital Murder Charges

In Texas, under Texas Penal Code §19.03, one of the ways a Capital Murder may be committed is if a person commits murder and intentionally commits the murder in the course of committing or attempting to commit robbery.

In addition, under Texas Penal Code §7.02, an individual can be criminally responsible for the acts committed by another person. Texas Penal Code §7.02(a)(2) explains that this is possible when an individual solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid the other person to commit the offense if the individual is acting with intent to promote or assist the commission of the offense.

An individual can also be criminally responsible for the acts committed by another person if, as stated in §7.02(b), in the attempt to carry out a conspiracy to commit one felony, another felony is committed by one of the conspirators and the offense was committed in furtherance of the unlawful purpose and was one that should have been anticipated as a result of the carrying out of the conspiracy. This is true even if the individual being held criminally responsible had no intent to commit the additional felony.

The individuals in this case are charged with Capital Murder, which carries the punishment of the death penalty or life in prison. According to the United States Supreme Court decision in Roper v. Simmons and Texas Penal Code §8.07(c), if one of the defendants was under the age of 18 at the time of the incident, the defendant would not be eligible to receive a death sentence.

However, the teens charged in this case are 18 and 19 years old. Therefore, they are all eligible to receive the death penalty.

If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense in Houston, contact Madrid Law, PLLC as soon as possible for review of your cases by a Board Certified criminal defense attorney.

The Certification of Juveniles in Texas

Juvenile Crimes

Not all juveniles who are charged with a crime in Texas will have their case handled by the juvenile court system. The sentencing structure in Texas allows for juveniles to be transferred out of juvenile court and into adult court.

Emma Quintero on Juveniles Being Certified As Adults

In general, an individual charged with a crime will be sent to juvenile court if they are under the age of 19 and were over the age of 10 but under the age of 17 when the alleged crime was committed. However, there are exceptions.

In Texas, a child as young as the age of 14 can be tried and sentenced in adult court if the juvenile meets certain requirements and the juvenile court waives their jurisdiction. When this occurs, a child is said to be “certified” as an adult.

Texas Family Code Sec. 54.02 sets out the requirements for a juvenile to be certified. The juvenile must be charged with a felony offense and must have been at least 14 or 15 years old at the time the alleged crime was committed, depending on the level of the felony they are charged with.

In addition, after a hearing, the court must find that there is probable cause to believe that the child committed the offense and because of the seriousness of the offense or background of the child the welfare of the community requires that the juvenile be moved to adult court.

Texas Family Code 54.02(f) lists the main factors the court considers when deciding whether to certify a juvenile. These factors include whether the alleged crime was against a person, the sophistication and maturity of the child, and the prospects of adequate protection of the public and the likelihood of the rehabilitation of the child by resources available to the juvenile justice system.

Following certification, the juvenile is charged, tried, and sentenced in the adult criminal justice system, as if they were an adult.

To see the current state of juvenile certifications in Texas and issues that arise see: http://www.utexas.edu/lbj/sites/default/files/files/juvenilestexas–final.pdf

If a family member or loved one of yours has been accused of the commission of a crime, and is a juvenile, contact the criminal defense lawyers at Madrid Law, PLLC.