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What To Do When Your Child is Accused of a Juvenile Criminal Offense: 3 Tips for Parents

Posted on in Juvenile Law

TX defense lawyerIf you are a parent, you know how hard it can be to raise children. Despite all of your efforts, your child may make mistakes that land him or her in legal trouble. Some teens and young adults end up in the back of a police car because they make poor decisions. Others simply get mixed up with the wrong crowd or are accused of something they did not actually do.

Whatever your child’s situation, you may understandably be anxious and unsure of how to handle the situation. Read on to learn three tips for parents whose children have been arrested for a criminal offense in Texas.

Remember That Your Child Has Rights

Just like adults, children and teens who are arrested have certain rights protected by the U.S. Constitution and other legislation. Your child has the right to remain silent and avoid self-incrimination. Your child also has a right to an attorney. The best advice you can give your child if he or she has been arrested is to say nothing to the police and wait for his or her lawyer to arrive.

Do Not Assume that the Consequences Will Be Minimal

Many parents assume that minors will face minimal consequences for drug possession, theft, intoxicated driving, or another offense. While it is true that the juvenile justice system prioritizes rehabilitation over punishment, this does not mean that juvenile criminal consequences cannot be significant. Your child may be facing serious criminal penalties, including detention in a juvenile facility.

There are also situations in which a juvenile may be tried as an adult. Offenders aged 15 years or older who are charged with a state-ail felony, second-degree felony, or third-degree felony may be treated as adult offenders in Texas. If your child is tried as an adult, he or she faces adult punishments including prison time.

Explore Your Options for Diversion

Texas courts understand that many young people need a second chance and that harsh punishments are not always appropriate for juvenile offenders. Your child may be eligible for diversion programs that reduce the penalties that he or she faces. If your child is between ages 10 and 16 and he or she was charged with a misdemeanor or state jail felony, he or she may qualify for the First Offender Program. To complete the program, your child will participate in group sessions that teach him or her about drug abuse, decision-making, and other important matters. Your or your child’s other parent will also be asked to participate in the program. If your child completes the program and does not receive any citations or arrests in the following 90 days, his or her record is expunged. This means that the offense is cleared from his or her record.

Contact a Floresville Juvenile Defense Lawyer

If your child was arrested and charged with a crime, contact our Wilson County criminal defense attorneys for help. Call BRCK Criminal Defense Attorneys at 830-769-1010 for a free consultation.



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