Juvenile Law

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Atascosa County criminal defense attorney juvenile crime

Similar to parental rules or regulations set by schools, minors have more legal restrictions than those over the age of 18. This is meant to protect the children and keep them on the right track while moving toward adulthood. According to Texas law, there are two types of misconduct that can place a child under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. Conduct Indicating a Need for Supervision (CINS) cases and delinquent conduct can both leave a stain on the minor’s record. It is important to know the difference between the two and understand what conduct falls within each category to keep your child out of the criminal justice system.

Minor Criminal Offenses

CINS cases include minor criminal offenses, aside from traffic violations, and these offenses will be tried by the juvenile court. There are six types of CINS offenses listed by the Texas legislature, including any fineable offense, running away, inhalant abuse, school expulsion, prostitution, and sexting. As you can see, not all of these offenses would apply to those over the age of 18. Because these offenses are considered relatively minor, the child will face varying levels of probation, but they cannot be sentenced to jail or prison. 

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Abogado de defensa juvenil del condado de WilsonLa audiencia inicial en un caso juvenil se llama audiencia de detención. Es la primera vez que verá a su hijo en la corte y la primera vez que su juez tendrá la oportunidad de hablar con usted, su abogado y su hijo.

¿Qué determina la liberación de mi hijo?

Entonces el juez en las audiencias puede hacer dos cosas. La primera es que harán una búsqueda de causa probable basada en el testimonio de la oficina de libertad condicional, informes policiales, videos, fotos para determinar si hay o no razones para creer que su hijo cometió un delito. Si hacen ese hallazgo, pasarán a la segunda parte de la audiencia, que es la gran parte: la determinación de liberación o detención. En ese proceso de toma de decisiones, el juez observará el Código Familiar de Texas que establece un criterio en el cual los niños deben ser liberados y cuándo deben ser detenidos.

¿Cuáles son algunos aspectos a tener en cuenta sobre la audiencia de mi hijo?

Hay un par de cosas a tener en cuenta: la primera es que las audiencias de detención juvenil ocurren muy rápidamente, generalmente dentro de las 48 horas posteriores al arresto. Entonces recibirá la terrible llamada telefónica de que tu hijo ha sido arrestado y luego, poco después, recibirá una segunda llamada para avisarte que se acerca la audiencia en la corte. La segunda cosa a tener en cuenta es que tiene derecho a tener a su abogado presente y a defender la liberación de su hijo en esta audiencia. La tercera cosa a tener en cuenta es que si su hijo es detenido, será detenido en un centro de detención local, que es muy parecido a una cárcel, con la excepción de que no hay adultos allí. Si su hijo es detenido, lo será hasta por 10 días hábiles antes de que sea elegible para una subsecuente audiencia de detención y otra oportunidad para convencer al juez de que libere a su hijo.

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Wilson County juvenile defense attorneyThe initial hearing in a juvenile case is called the detention hearing. It's the first time you'll see your child in court and the first time your judge will have an opportunity to speak with you, your attorney and your child.

What determines my child's release?

So the judge in the hearings can do two things. The first is they're gonna make a probable cause finding based on testimony from the probation office, police reports, videos, pictures to make that determination as to whether or not there's reason to believe your child committed a crime. If they do make that finding, they'll be on to the second part of the hearing which is the big part -- the release or detain determination. In that decision-making process, the judge willl look to the Texas Family Code which lays out a criteria in which children should be released and when they should be detained.

What are some aspects to keep in mind about my child's hearing?

A couple things to keep in mind -- the first is that juvenile detention hearings happen very quickly, usually within 48 hours of the arrest. So you're gonna get the terrible phone call that your child has been arrested and then very shortly after you're gonna get a second phone call letting you know they have court coming up. The second thing to keep in mind is that you do have a right to have your attorney present and arguing for your child's release at this hearing. The third thing to keep in mind is that if your child is detained they'll be detained in a local detention center, which is a lot like a jail with the exception that no adults are there. If your child is detained, they'll be detained for up to 10 working days before they'll be eligible for a subsequent detention hearing and another shot at convincing the judge to release your child.

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Karnes County traffic violation defense attorney

Obtaining a driver’s license for the first time can be one of the most exciting events in a teenager’s life. After spending hours behind the wheel, attending various driving courses, and getting yelled at by nervous parents as they are learning to drive, being able to finally ride on the roads without parental supervision can make a minor finally feel independent. However, driving without parents in the car does not mean that young motorists have surpassed the various restrictions allotted to new drivers. Many teens incorrectly believe that once they have a driver’s license, they have the same rights on the road as any other driver. Understanding the restrictions that exist for new drivers is extremely important before hitting the road, especially since traffic violations can have a significant effect on a person's license and insurance rates, and serious violations may even lead to criminal charges and a lifelong criminal record.

License Phases

Each state has its own rules for new drivers, and it is imperative to have a good understanding of this, whether you are a parent or a new teen driver. In Texas, there are two types of driver’s licenses, known as “phases,” and each phase has its own rules and regulations.

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Jourdanton juvenile crime attorney

Starting to build a criminal record at a young age can lead to very serious consequences in the future. Even if it begins with small offenses, petty crimes can often lead to more serious crimes in the future and even harsher legal consequences. The United States has always deliberated on how to handle youths within the criminal justice system. Some believe that these minors should receive harsh punishments at the forefront of their record to scare them from committing more crimes, while others view rehabilitation as the correct answer. The state of Texas has worked to put a law in place that avoids allowing youth crimes to go unpunished while also steering away from unnecessarily long and severe sentences.

Determinate Sentencing

One of the primary concerns for those trying to improve the criminal justice system is keeping juveniles outside of the adult criminal justice system. Some states allow a minor to be tried as an adult depending on how close they are to the age of 18 and how serious the crime is. To avoid this being the case in Texas, the state legislature approved determinate sentencing as an alternative for minors. This was originally approved in 1987 and has since seen several legal adjustments. Minors who have committed an offense that is considered a capital or first-degree felony qualify for determinate sentencing. The following are a few examples of criminal offenses that can possibly lead to this alternate type of sentencing:

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