Juvenile crimes are dealt with differently than crimes committed by an adult. Juvenile courts in Texas have their own specific guidelines and practices when it comes to trying and sentencing underage individuals who have committed a crime. Punishments for juvenile crimes vary greatly depending on the circumstances surrounding the crimes, as well as their severity. Just as in the adult criminal justice system, however, heavy fines and jail time can be assessed by the court.
Types of Juvenile Crimes
At The Alband Law Firm we can handle any type of juvenile crime, but some of the most common we see are:
- Drug Charges
- Theft Offenses
- Underage Drinking
- Curfew Violations
- Assault & Battery
If your child has been charged with a crime of any type, then contact a qualified lawyer who can represent your child in their case and ensure their rights are protected throughout the criminal proceedings.
Juvenile Crimes & Penalties
In Texas, a juvenile is a person who is at least 10 years old but under 17. Once they turn 17, they are legally recognized as an adult and may be subject to the adult criminal court system. Despite being younger than adults, juveniles can still get charged with anything from a class C misdemeanor to capital murder. However, the penalties for these crimes will differ for juveniles compared to adults.
There are no minimum and maximum penalties in the juvenile system except in the case of determinate sentences, but a juvenile’s punishment would range from committing to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department until their 19th birthday or being on probation until their 18th birthday. If a juvenile was charged with a felony, however, a judge may issue a stronger punishment. In these cases, there are two options available:
- Seek a determinate sentence that would potentially allow the juvenile’s punishment to be transferred to adult court or adult prison
- Ask the court to waive its jurisdiction over the juvenile and certify them as an adult. A judge will review the following factors when determining whether to waive the court’s jurisdiction and certify a juvenile as an adult:
- Whether the alleged offense was against person or property, with the greater favor given to offenses against the person
- The juvenile’s sophistication and maturity
- The juvenile’s record and previous history
- The juvenile’s rehabilitation by use of the procedures, services, and facilities currently available to the juvenile court
The main difference between the two options is that a determinate sentence is kept in the juvenile court system, whereas a juvenile who is certified as an adult is transferred to adult court prior to any adjudication. If a juvenile gets a determinate sentence, their punishment ranges to a maximum of 40 years for capital and first-degree felonies, and 10 years for third-degree felonies. If they are certified as an adult, a juvenile could suffer adult punishments, including life in prison with eligibility for parole.
Examples of crimes that are eligible for a determinate sentence include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Capital murder
- Attempted capital murder
- Intoxication manslaughter
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated assault
- Felony deadly conduct
- Aggravated or first-degree controlled substance felony
- First-degree felony arson
Essentially, the penalty depends on the crime. A juvenile can go through the adult criminal court system and suffer adult-level penalties if the prosecution successfully petitions to certify them as an adult. Or the prosecution can pursue a determinate sentence which would keep a defendant in the juvenile system and only subject them to a maximum of 40 years in prison.
Advantage of Obtaining a Skilled Criminal Defense
Being convicted of a crime can have disastrous and long-lasting consequences on your child's well-being and future. A criminal record can mean difficulty for them in obtaining a good job, and it may even prevent them from being able to get into college. Having the representation of a skilled Fort Worth criminal attorney could help your child avoid these consequences, by building a defense that seeks to get the criminal charges reduced or dropped entirely.
Hire The Alband Law Firm for Your Child's Case
The Alband Law Firm is well-versed in handling criminal cases of all types, and we provide our clients with aggressive legal service that increases their chances of a case outcome that is advantageous to them.
Contact us today if your child has been arrested for a crime, and we will assist you and your child with the goal of a resolution to their case that guarantees them a bright and successful future.
"So good to have an honest and knowledgeable team behind us."Angel
"They have provided a sense of ease to my thoughts and heart. I can not imagine using a different group of people to help me in this situation."John
"Thanks to Mr. Alband, a two-count indicted felony case was dismissed completely."Ann
"Mr. Alband, I just wanted to say thank you and good luck with your future career."C.F.
"For all that you are and all that you give, I thank you."V.B.