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The Texas Justice System: Defending Juveniles

Updated: Jan 30, 2024 @ 8:02 pm

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When accused of a crime, everyone is worthy of a strong defense. Juveniles accused of crimes are no exception. When a minor faces criminal charges, the path forward can be complex. However, our law firm has extensive experience provide legal counsel for adults and juvenile offenders alike.

If you need to talk with a lawyer about securing legal representation for a minor, contact the Law Office of Sandra J. Oballe today. We’re available around the clock. Ask for Sandra.

Understanding Juvenile Offenses

In Texas, a juvenile is defined as a person aged 10 to 17.

The range of offenses they can be charged with mirror those for adults: theft, assault, drug offenses, sexual misconduct, to name a few.

However, the juvenile justice system aims to serve the best interests of the child with focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment.

Certification as an Adult

A pivotal point in any juvenile case is whether to certify a minor to stand trial as an adult. Obviously, this reserved for minor who commit grievous offenses.

The courts will consider factors during the determination of whether the certify the minor as an adult. These factors include the seriousness of the alleged offense, the minor’s age, and any prior criminal record they may have.

If the juvenile court waives its jurisdiction, per Texas Family Code Section 54.02, the repercussions can be profound.

If your family is in this situation, we’re well-versed in these type of cases. Our experience can make all the difference for the best during these crucial proceedings.

A Look at Detention Hearings

After a minor is arrested, a detention hearing is held to decide whether the minor should remain in custody. Usually, the minor will be released to the parents.

When making this determination, the court weighs factors like the severity of the offense, the minor’s record, and the likelihood of re-offending. During these hearings, a strong attorney that’s knowledgeable in Texas Family Code Section 54.01, can ensure your child’s rights are upheld.

Adjudication Hearings

Adjudication hearings are not all that different from adult criminal trials. During these hearings, all the facts of the case are presented. The purpose of this procedure is to determine delinquency.

Unlike adult trials, there’s no jury in juvenile adjudication hearings. The final decision on the guilt or innocence of the accused party lies solely with the judge. This is usually an uncomfortable situation for parents. With the help of our legal team, we can build a defense strategy on your child’s behalf.

Diversion Programs

In the juvenile justice system, diversion programs are an excellent option for resolving criminal cases.

Diversion programs aim to keep minors out of the judicial process. The good thing about diversion programs is that they mainly focus on education, therapy, and community service. If we can get a juvenile into a diversion program and they complete it, it could mean the dismissal of all criminal charges.

These programs are a golden opportunity to resolve juvenile justice matters in a positive fashion. If you need help understanding diversion programs for juvenile offenders in Harris County or Brazoria County, call us.

Sealing Criminal Records

A juvenile adjudication can result in a record that follows a minor into adulthood. Fortunately, Texas law provides mechanisms for sealing juvenile records under certain conditions. This is outlined in Texas Family Code Section 58.003. If we’re representing the minor, we’ll guide you through this process which will help to mitigate any long-term consequences your child may face.

Your Champion in the Courtroom

Attorney Sandra Oballe

If your child or another juvenile your care about is charged with a crime in Brazoria County, I know you want to make the best decision possible. Their future matters. If you need help, call my office today. I’m Attorney Sandra Oballe. I’ve practiced law in Texas since 2003, and I’ve helped hundreds of families in Angleton, Alvin, and Brazoria. I also take cases in Houston on the docket in Harris County.

My main objective is to fight for your child’s rights. If you’re seeking legal representation, let us help you.

Our office provides flexible legal fees, affordable legal representation, and free initial consultations. If you have any questions, call us at 979-265-6800.

Law Office of Sandra J. Oballe

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