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Jourdanton juvenile criminal defense lawyerIt is common knowledge that children make mistakes frequently and often fail to recognize how certain decisions can affect their future. Juvenile delinquency is a significant issue that can become a vicious cycle for those found guilty. Children's mistakes can remain on their records and affect possible job opportunities in the future. According to the most recent data from the Texas Department of Public Safety, there were 3,572 juvenile arrests in 2014. In other words, thousands of children each year are facing possible fines, confinement, and a negative impact on their permanent records.

What Is the First Offender Program?

The First Offender Program is Texas law enforcement’s response to juvenile delinquency. Texas legislators and law enforcement officers recognize that a child’s lack of maturity and mental development can cause them to make a mistake that they do not fully comprehend as “wrong” at the time. The First Offender Program is a minor’s way to start over, even if he or she has committed a crime. Different geographic areas can have their own version of such a program. The program has certain requirements that must be completed, which will allow the child’s first offense to be removed from his or her record. These may include mandatory attendance at group meetings and/or appointments with a caseworker.

Not all children with convictions are eligible for the program. The minor must be between the age of 10 and 16 and be a first offender. Those who have committed Class A & B misdemeanors and state jail felonies may be eligible for the program. However, those who have charges that involved assaultsweapons, or sexual crimes resulting in the requirement to register as a sex offender do not qualify for the program.

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