Anytime that the law focuses on your child, it is upsetting. If your son or daughter has been accused of juvenile theft, it is a serious charge, and it is important that you understand the consequences of a conviction, which are significant. Children – being children – can make foolish choices. Your child's future, however, is far too important to leave to chance; seek experienced legal counsel.
Texas: The Juvenile Justice System
In Texas, a juvenile is defined as anyone who is at least 10 years old but who is not older than 17. Any child within this age group who faces a theft charge will generally be facing juvenile charges. As such, your child will not be detained prior to his or her court date unless extenuating circumstances apply. These circumstances include the following:
- Your child has a previous conviction
- Your child is considered a flight risk, which means that either he or she is likely to leave the jurisdiction or he or she is likely to be taken out of the jurisdiction
- Your child is considered to be a danger to himself or others.
- The child who does not have a parent or guardian or does not receive the supervision and care he or she needs from a parent or guardian
Your child will go through an intake process that involves being interviewed by a probation officer – who will determine if there is probable cause to charge him or her with juvenile theft.
Your Child’s Rights
Although your child is being charged with a juvenile crime, he or she has the same rights that every adult has in such situations. This means that your child has the right to remain silent and has the right to legal counsel. Your child should avail himself or herself of these rights. Advise your child not to speak to the officer until an experienced criminal defense attorney is by his or her side. The fact is that anything your child says can and will be used against him or her; proceed with caution.
Adjudication and Disposition
Your child’s hearing will be conducted in two parts. The first phase is adjudication – where – to convict – a jury must unanimously agree that the juvenile theft charges are true. If your son or daughter, instead, enters a stipulation – similar to an adult’s guilty plea – he or she can avoid the adjudication phase and will proceed to disposition. Disposition is the sentencing phase of the process, and it is here that the judge will provide appropriate punishment that is intended to guide and instruct your child.
If Your Child is Facing Juvenile Theft Charges, Consult with an Experienced Attorney Today
The fact is that a juvenile theft conviction is not only stigmatizing but can also have significant negative consequences in your child’s future. Criminal Attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, has the experience, dedication, and compassion to fight for your child's rights and his or her case's best possible outcome. We are here to help, so please contact us online or call us at (254) 220-4225 for more information today.