Can My Child Be Tried As an Adult in Texas? | Karnes County Criminal Defense Attorney

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Can My Child Be Tried As an Adult in Texas?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Wilson County criminal defense attorney

Being convicted of a crime at any age can be a terrifying experience. Not knowing how the court system works or not having a good understanding of the possible consequences of your conviction can make the months of your criminal trial feel like years. For minors, the process can be even more daunting. Your crimes may take you away from your home and family, and in some cases, warrant that you are tried as an adult. The state of Texas allows some juvenile cases to be tried in adult court depending on the details of the charge. No matter the severity of your crime, it is always advisable to work with a reputable criminal defense attorney to be fully informed on the legal process and have a trained defender on your side.

Trying a Juvenile as an Adult

The state of Texas has two separate courts -- juvenile and adult courts. Those who are between the ages of 10 and 17 fall within the juvenile court system. Once minors reach the age of 18, they are no longer eligible to be tried in juvenile court. The age restrictions of these courts, however, are not fully set in stone and those who are 14 years or older may be tried in an adult court if their criminal charge is serious enough to warrant this harsher jurisdiction. Known as a certification or transfer hearing, the Texas juvenile court may waive its right to the minor’s case, transferring the child to stand trial in an adult criminal district court.

It is typically advised that juvenile courts try minors to keep them out of the adult system. However, if the child is 14 years of age or older and he or she is facing a capital felony, aggravated controlled substance felony, or first-degree felony charge, his or her case may be transferred to the adult court system. For those 15 years or older, a second-, third-degree, or state jail felony can have them transferred to adult court. Once the minor has been transferred to adult court, all subsequent felonies, regardless of his or her age, must be tried in the adult court system. Minors may face all of the same consequences that adults can, aside from the death penalty and a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.

What Is Considered?

Not every juvenile court transfer request is approved. Before the transfer is decided upon, a transfer hearing will be held, without a jury, to examine the case details, information about the minor, and more. The court will look at a number of factors before making its final decision. Was the offense against a person or property? Offenses against a person are approved for transfer more frequently. The juvenile court will also consider the following factors:

  • The maturity and sophistication of the child

  • The child’s previous criminal record

  • The impending danger that the child poses on the public

  • The child’s likelihood of rehabilitation with the resources available through the juvenile court

Contact an Atascosa County Juvenile Defense Attorney

As you can see, the complexities of juvenile criminal law can leave your child burdened with an adult-sized sentence in a facility filled with those over the age of 17. Many parents are shocked by this possibility and do not realize that the criminal charges their child is facing can be this life-changing. Our BCP Criminal Defense Attorneys are well-versed in the Texas juvenile and adult criminal court system, allowing us to assist both age groups with their defense strategy. We have over 40 years of combined experience and provide free consultations to discuss your case before committing to our firm. For help with your child’s criminal defense, call our diligent Pleasanton juvenile criminal defense attorneys today at 830-769-1010.

 

Source:
https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/sites/default/files/files/divisions/juvenile-justice/JuvenileJusticeHandbook.pdf

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