Harris County Juvenile Lawyer
2 million children go to juvenile detention every year. This is a problem we understand.
We may be able to help your child avoid becoming one of the many juvenile delinquency cases we see each year.
If your child has been accused of delinquent conduct it is the equivalent of an adult being charged with a criminal offense. It is crucial that he or she be represented by one of our Houston juvenile attorneys as soon as possible. Most parents are surprised that a police officer can interview their child outside the presence of either parents or children and obtain sworn statements and confessions that, in some circumstances, may be admissible at trial. The juvenile justice system is designed to create some opportunities for positive intervention in children’s lives. On the other hand, juvenile judges can also impose serious consequences on minors who are found to be responsible for violation of our criminal laws.
At Connolly & Shireman in Houston, the juvenile law is a significant part of our practice. We regularly guide parents and children through this unique system, pursuing positive results. To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced juvenile law attorneys, contact us today.
Understanding the Potential Consequences
When minors are accused of offenses that would be considered crimes if they were committed by an adult, their cases are handled in the juvenile courts under the Juvenile Justice System Code, a unique legal practice area. The range of offenses that can land children in juvenile court include:
- Unauthorized use of a motor vehicle (sometimes known as “joyriding”)
- Drug possession
- Assault and aggravated assault
- Sexual Offenses
- Murder, including capital murder
The juvenile law process provides certain alternatives to incarceration and contains flexibility that is designed to protect the unique interests of children that is not available in adult criminal court. However, certain offenses can result in a child’s incarceration for extended periods of time.
In Texas, children can be sent to prison for up to 40 years by the juvenile courts. They can also be subjected to mandatory sex offender registration. Juveniles can also be certified to stand trial as adults, making them eligible for the full range of criminal penalties (except capital punishment).
Devoted to Helping Children Get Help and Support
Our managing partner, Bill Connolly is Board Certified in Family Law, Child Welfare Law and Juvenile Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
He is the only attorney in the State of Texas to be Board Certified in all three Family Code Specialization areas. Bill has been active in the Juvenile Bar since 1983 at both the trial and appellate levels and has handled cases ranging from misdemeanor theft to capital murder. The juvenile law consists of a unique blend of civil, criminal, and constitutional law that affects children from 10 – 17 years of age. Once a child has been adjudicated for conduct committed prior to his/her 19th birthday, juvenile court jurisdiction may extend to age 19. When adults (anyone above age 17 at the time of the offense) are charged with a crime they face guilt or innocence and punishment stages of their proceedings. Juveniles face proceedings which determine whether the child might be adjudicated to have engaged in delinquent conduct and what disposition, if any, should be made in their case.
The Juvenile Justice Code recognizes the need for treatment, training, and rehabilitation as well as punishment and accountability. Children who have their whole lives ahead of them sometimes have limited judgment and they are supposed to be treated differently than adults. Many of our clients have an addiction and other mental health issues, and we are often able to seek treatment for those issues as an alternative to harsh punishment.
Our juvenile law specialist is skilled in handling all forms of juvenile proceedings from deferred prosecutions to certifications, transfer hearings, trials (court or jury) and appeals. If your child has been suspected, detained, interrogated, questioned or charged in a juvenile proceeding, please contact our juvenile law specialist to discuss your options.