5 Important Benefits of Hiring a Juvenile Attorney in Dallas Texas
One of the most difficult experiences that a parent can encounter, is a case where their minor son or daughter has been charged
with a crime. This can stem from a large range of charges including shoplifting or theft, public mischief such as vandalism, or more severe crimes such as gang violence, sexual assault, manslaughter or murder.
Parents are often shocked at the level of punitive consequences from something as small as a misdemeanor charge. Criminal acts of great severity can have even more dire and lifelong consequences for your child, and family.
One of the biggest mistakes that parents in Dallas can make, is not hiring an Attorney to fight the criminal charge in Court. We’d like to share five important reasons why your family should retain an experienced Juvenile legal expert for an effective defense.
1. An Essential Review of Your Child’s Rights During Arrest
The first step for the criminal defense of a juvenile is to determine if all requirements were met by law enforcement officers, at the time that your child was arrested. Because children are often unaware of their rights, they may have been incarcerated under procedures that violate their legal rights in Texas.
These circumstances can include:
- Not being read Miranda during the arrest.
- Not being informed of the right to have an attorney and guardian present during questioning by law enforcement.
- Not being informed to their right to avoid self-incrimination.
- Illegal search and seizure of evidence, without cause or a legal warrant.
Regardless of the terms of the legal infraction, these are mandatory rights that can make certain evidence (even eye-witness accounts) inadmissible in Court. A Juvenile Attorney will do a comprehensive review of the circumstances involving the arrest, to determine if your child’s rights were violated. In a moderate percentage of cases where proper arrest procedures were not followed for a Juvenile, the charges may be dismissed.
2. The High Stakes Disposition Hearing
Most Juvenile trials are held before a Judge alone, but in some criminal cases, the offender can request a jury trial. The Judge or the Jury will decide if the petition (or charge) is proven or not proven. That is equivalent to a decision of guilt or innocence, pending review of evidence or the submission of an admission or plea by the Juvenile defendant.
If the Judge or Jury has determined that the petition is proven, the next step will be the Disposition Hearing. At this hearing, it is the Judge’s determination of the punitive measures that the Court will require of the accused Juvenile for their crime. This can include a warning, fines for restitution, a probationary period, removal to foster care or placement in a home for Juveniles, where they may receive interventions and therapy to help rehabilitate them.
The terms of the Disposition or Court ordered actions depend on a variety of factors, including the severity of the crime, the criminal history of the Juvenile (if they are a repeat offender) and the demeanor of the child. If they are repentant and present as acknowledging responsibility and regret for their first-time offense, the Disposition may order probation and community service.
An Attorney you choose will build a case that works to influence the Court and the decisions regarding suitable penalties for your child. By building a quality defense, parents can help their child avoid long-term legal and financial consequences.
3. Juvenile Legal Cases Are Processed More Quickly
While adult crimes including misdemeanor and felony charges can take up to two years between the date of the charge and hearing, and the trial, Juvenile criminal cases in Dallas can move far more quickly. Part of this is that the procedures are designed to process Juvenile offenders promptly and, in best case scenarios, return them to activities of normal living and school as quickly as possible.
Because the court dates for Juvenile cases move more quickly from arrest to a Court hearing, parents must start building an effective defense strategy immediately after their child is released from custody.
4. Juvenile Criminal Records Are Not Automatically Sealed
There is a misconception that a juvenile criminal charge will be sealed indefinitely (and automatically) when the child turns 18. This is absolutely not the case. While Juvenile records are held securely to prevent prejudice against the child, and access by law enforcement, schools and employers, this information can become public in adulthood.
Parents who wish to permanently seal their child’s juvenile delinquency records, must take legal action to do so. Sealing Juvenile criminal records is a multiple step process that can start prior to the child reaching the age of majority, or adulthood at age 21.
In order to petition the Court to seal the records, your child must have been between the ages of 10 and 17 years when arrested on a Class A or B misdemeanor or felony charge. If the case was not adjudicated, there is no waiting period required to have the record sealed, and parents can petition the Court to seal it immediately.
If there was a misdemeanor adjudication that resulted in the finding of delinquent conduct, families must wait at least two years after the deferral is completed; and the child must have no further charges on file (or a historical pattern of criminal offenses).
It is important to note that not all Juvenile criminal records can be sealed. If your child has committed aggravated felonies or sex offenses, and has multiple legal offenses on their record, they cannot be sealed.
5. A Juvenile Can Be Tried as an Adult in Texas
In the most egregious cases of felony crimes, children may, at the discretion of the Court, be tried as an adult in Texas. This substantially increases the penalties and consequences for your child, while removing many of the protections such as Juvenile incarceration vs. adult incarceration. In the most severe cases this can include qualifying for the State death penalty.
No matter how old your child is, or the nature of the alleged crime, Britt Redden provides a qualified criminal defense strategy for every client. At Redden Law, PLLC, our job is to help families navigate the difficult procedures involved in preparing a defense for Juvenile court in Texas.
Start by scheduling a free consultation by contacting our legal team at Redden Law, PLLC in Dallas Texas. We will debrief your family in the initial consultation, so that you know what to expect with regards to evidence, penalties and defense strategies.
With the right legal team, your family can navigate the difficult Texas juvenile justice system. Our goal is to reduce the penalty and help protect your child against unreasonable punitive consequences for their crime. And to provide your child with an opportunity to rehabilitate from the experience, so that a lapse in judgement and mistake does not provide lifelong consequences that hinder their future.
Stand by your child and the future you want for them, by hiring an experienced Attorney who will fight for them in court. Choose Redden Law, PLLC and Attorney Britt Redden for your Juvenile defense case.