There are few things more devastating than receiving a phone informing you that your child has been charged with a crime. Worse yet, learning that you child is being held in the detention center and will likely not have the opportunity to be released for two weeks. Juvenile cases are particularly stressful, confusing and complicate because the procedure is different than an adult criminal charge. Children are also particularly vulnerable when facing criminal charges. For these reasons, juvenile charges in the State of Texas require you to hire a juvenile criminal defense attorney to represent your child.
Having a juvenile conviction on their record could potentially be devastating for your child’s future, including making it difficult for them to find a job in a desirable industry, get into the school they want, enlist in the military, or receive college scholarships. There are options that may allow us to prevent a one-time mistake from becoming a permanent conviction on your child’s record or may allow them to seal a conviction that they receive. Regardless of whether the allegations against your child are extreme or minor, seeking the guidance of a knowledgeable, experienced, and compassionate juvenile defense attorney should be your top priority as a parent.
Brandi Underwood has practiced law in North Texas for ten years and proudly Denton, Aubrey, Pilot Point, Sanger, Krum, Carrollton, Flower Mound, Lewisville, Plano, Frisco, Prosper, Celina, Anna, McKinney, Allen, The Colony and the surrounding areas with compassionate, dedicated, and thorough juvenile defense services. Brandi is a member of both the Denton County Bar Association – Family Law Section and the Denton County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. Brandi also has extensive experience those other legal areas that often effect juvenile law, including family law, specifically CPS cases, and criminal law. If you would like to review your child’s case with Brandi at no cost or obligation to yourself, call the Underwood Law Office at 940.372.0931 or fill out the online contact form.
DEFENDING YOUR CHILD’S RIGHT TO A FUTURE
Brandi believes deeply that it is the responsibility for all adults involved, including the defense attorney, to work diligently in the best interest of the child, which includes doing everything possible to prevent a juvenile conviction from going onto their record or maintaining the ability to seal that record in the future. There are a variety of crimes your child can be accused of that can result in juvenile court proceedings. These include:
- Drug Possession
- Destruction of Property
- Sexual Assault
- Indecency with a Child
- Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity
THE JUVENILE COURT SYSTEM PROCESS
If your child is kept in the juvenile court system, the process works differently than the adult court system:
- The first step is the filing of the petition. The agent or police officer involved with the case will investigate the facts and conduct interviews to determine if enough evidence exists for a case to proceed. If they believe enough evidence exists, they will pass the case to the District Attorney who will further investigate and may file the petition if they determine sufficient evidence exists.
- Depending on the specific circumstances of your child’s case and their background, they may either be released into your custody to serve probation or placed in a detention center. If they are placed at home, there will likely be other stipulations like community service.
- If it is found that your child must be kept in the detention center, a hearing will be scheduled. Your child will be required to stand before the court at this hearing and state either that they did or didn’t commit the act in question. If they admit they did it, they will be sentenced immediately, otherwise contested adjudication hearing will be scheduled where both sides will be allowed to present evidence to support their case.
- If found guilty at an adjudication, the juvenile can agree to the disposition offered by the District Attorney’s Office or the Court will next hold a disposition hearing to determine the appropriate penalties.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR CHILD IS ACCUSED OF A CRIME
In juvenile cases, your child may be detained in the juvenile detention center until the judge determines that it is safe to release them. That determination is often made based on the child’s access to counsel, plan for supervision upon release, plan for needed services and ability to return to school. If your child is detained, the court will schedule a follow-up detention hearing every two weeks until release occurs. The focus of those hearings is not your child’s guilt or innocence, rather their purpose is to determine whether or not your child will be detained again or released. It is important to have a plan prior to appearing for those detention hearings. Brandi can help you create that plan.
The underlying or base case is the charge that your child is charged with and the eventual outcome of that case. In juvenile cases, there are numerous options. If your child has never been in trouble before the outcome is almost always probation. The important thing to determine is the length or that probation, the structure of the probation, the services that will be required of your child while on probation and whether completion of the probationary period will result in a conviction and whether it will allow your child to seal that conviction in the future if it does. All options need to be discussed and evaluated before a decision is made that will impact your child’s future.
If your child has been in trouble before or has a more serious charge, the outcome of their case could be more serious and could include removal from your home and placement in a treatment or boot camp facility or even placement in the Texas Juvenile Justice Department up to their nineteenth birthday. Additional repercussions can come with these placements and also need to be carefully considered.
Under certain circumstances, serious charges may be transferred to District Court and your child may be tried as an adult in the regular criminal court system. If the court feels this may be the right way to proceed, a “transfer hearing” will be scheduled to determine if this is indeed the proper way to handle the situation.
PROTECTING YOUR CHILD’S FUTURE
When your child’s future is on the line, you need an attorney who knows the law and has worked on juvenile cases in Denton and Collin counties for years. Brandi is familiar with the judges in both counties and the Assistant District Attorneys in those courts. The best thing you can do is to contact an experienced juvenile defense attorney in your area. Brandi who will discuss your case personally and explore the options with you. If you are in Denton, Aubrey, Pilot Point, Sanger, Krum, Carrollton, Flower Mound, Lewisville, Plano, Frisco, Prosper, Celina, Anna, McKinney, Allen, The Colony and the surrounding areas and are in need of a reputable, experienced, and dedicated juvenile defense attorney, call today to schedule a free consultation with Brandi. There is no cost or obligation.
If you live in North Texas, contact Brandi Underwood for a free consultation and evaluation of your child’s juvenile case. With ten years of experience serving clients Denton, Aubrey, Pilot Point, Sanger, Krum, Carrollton, Flower Mound, Lewisville, Plano, Frisco, Prosper, Celina, Anna, McKinney, Allen, The Colony and the surrounding areas, Brandi has the compassion, legal expertise, and dedication to give your child the defense they deserve in the state of Texas. Call today at 940.372.0931 or fill out our online contact form.