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.