San Marcos Juvenile Defense Attorneys
Working on Your Family’s Behalf
Time is of the essence when it comes to a juvenile legal matter, they move through the system typically within a few months. The legal team at The Law Offices of David C. Hardaway knows what is at stake if your child is charged with a crime, and we will work quickly and effectively to have the charge against your child reduced or dropped.
If those options are not available, we will develop an effective strategy for defending your child, and we will fight aggressively for justice on your family’s behalf.
Every year, more than 50,000 juveniles are arrested in Texas or referred to the state’s juvenile probation system. A juvenile criminal conviction may entail consequences that could affect your child for life.
Who Is a Juvenile Under Texas Law?
In this state, the law defines a “juvenile” as someone who was at least 10 but not yet 17 years old at the time he or she allegedly committed an act that Texas law calls “delinquent conduct” or “conduct in need of supervision.”
Delinquent conduct is conduct that, if committed by an adult, could result in a jail or prison sentence. Conduct in need of supervision is conduct that, if committed by an adult, would be penalized only with a fine or would not be a violation of the law (such as drinking alcohol).
A juvenile who engages in delinquent conduct or conduct in need of supervision may be referred to juvenile court. In some cases, the matter is dealt with informally and the juvenile is returned home. However, if your child is formally charged with delinquent conduct, you must contact The Law Offices of David C. Hardaway and obtain legal assistance at once.
When a child is charged with delinquent conduct, he or she will have the same legal rights as an adult who is charged with a crime. In rare circumstances for certain violent or egregious criminal charges, a juvenile may be certified as an adult and moved to the adult criminal justice system.
What Does the Texas Juvenile Justice Process Entail?
When a child’s delinquent conduct case goes to juvenile court, the process entails:
- a detention hearing to determine if the juvenile should be held or released to his or her parents
- a transfer or certification hearing – if the charges are serious enough – to consider transferring the case to the adult system
- an adjudication hearing that determines if the juvenile is innocent (Not true) or guilty (True) as charged
- a disposition hearing that determines sentencing if the juvenile was adjudicated (meaning convicted) for delinquent conduct
What Happens After a Delinquent Conduct Adjudication?
The court will impose one of these three sentencing options when a juvenile is adjudicated:
- A juvenile may be placed on probation
- A juvenile may be placed into placement (bootcamp)
- For felony offenses, a juvenile may be sent to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department with an indeterminate sentence
- For the most serious offenses, a juvenile may be sent to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department with a determinate sentence
What Are Determinate and Indeterminate Sentencing?
“Indeterminate” sentencing sends a juvenile to serve his or her sentence under the supervision of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department for an indefinite period of time but not beyond his or her 19th birthday.
“Determinate” sentencing sends a juvenile to serve his or her sentence under the supervision of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department for a certain period of time.
However, for more serious offenses, “determinate” sentencing could also begin under the supervision of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department and then transfer a juvenile to the adult system to complete his or her sentence.
If the state is seeking a determinate sentence in your child’s case, you must have the advice and services of a Texas criminal defense lawyer who has extensive juvenile defense experience.
How Will a Defense Attorney Help Your Family?
The team of attorneys at The Law Offices of David C. Hardaway understand that a child is a child, and we work hard to keep judges from forgetting that fact. We also know that juveniles are often accused of crimes that they did not commit.
That’s why parents must contact an attorney as soon as they know that their child has been accused of a crime. There’s no such thing as a “trivial” charge. If your child is accused by the State of Texas of being a criminal, you must have an attorney’s help as quickly as possible.
When a minor becomes an adult, a juvenile adjudication may be “sealed” – that is, kept from the public – but you have to obtain an Order for Nondisclosure from the court. Let The Law Offices of David C. Hardaway file your request with the court for an Order for Nondisclosure.
What’s the Best Thing a Parent Can Do?
If your child is accused of delinquent conduct or of conduct in need of supervision, the best thing you can do as a parent is to obtain a juvenile defense lawyer’s help. Time is of the essence when it comes to juvenile case, they move through the system typically within a few months.
You can contact a juvenile defense lawyer at The Law Offices of David C. Hardaway in San Marcos by calling 512-805-6613. We will work to uncover the truth about your child’s guilt or innocence and to bring your child’s case to its best possible conclusion.