Parker County Juvenile Defense Attorney Jeff Hampton
Juvenile criminal justice is an area of the law that continues to develop rapidly. Legal scholars and scientific researchers agree that a juvenile’s brain matures more slowly than what people initially believed. The new understanding of adolescent brain development means that prosecutors, probation officers, and judges must be receptive to rehabilitation rather than strict punishment by confinement behind bars. Consequently, the practice of juvenile criminal defense has experienced a sea change. The focus of the juvenile criminal justice system in Parker County is on rehabilitation rather than draconian punishment like lengthy incarceration, in most cases.
Juvenile criminal practice in Parker County requires a lawyer who understands the nuances of representing a child before a judge and jury. Juvenile court is no longer “kiddie court.” Serious consequences arise for juveniles in the criminal justice system, and a disposition that only inflicts punishment without an opportunity to learn and grow can irreparably harm the child and his or her future. That is why an attorney who has significant experience fighting for the rights of juveniles is whom you and your child should consult if your son or daughter find themselves facing criminal charges in Parker County Juvenile Court.
Juvenile Court Jurisdiction
Juvenile criminal practice differs from criminal practice in adult court. Juvenile criminal justice in Texas merges the criminal laws of Texas with the rules and procedures of Family Court. In Parker County and Texas generally, any child aged 10 to 16 can face charges in the juvenile court. Persons aged 17 and older must submit to the jurisdiction of adult court. No child aged 9 or younger can be found to be liable for any criminal activity in Texas. Instances may arise when the state may “try” the juvenile as an adult in Texas. A discussion of those occasions will be discussed below.
The differences between juvenile court and adult court are substantial. The differences far exceed the place of incarceration, but the vocabulary used in adult court is different from juvenile court. For example, a criminal case in adult court is brought in the name of the State of Texas. In juvenile court, the court styles the case, “In the Matter of ….” Also, a juvenile is not a “defendant.” Rather a juvenile is a respondent, and the state is the petitioner. Importantly, any child held in custody must have a detention hearing every ten days. Juvenile courts have no authority to set bail, but judges or magistrates may grant the child a conditional release. Critically, a parent or legal guardian must accompany the child at every court appearance.
Punishments for Juveniles in Parker County
One must bear in mind that juvenile criminal proceedings are adversarial in nature, even though the entire system is designed to address the particularized needs of juveniles. The petitioner in a juvenile criminal case acts on behalf of the state and will most likely seek incarceration for the child in many cases. Juvenile defendants have the right to have competent counsel represent them and are guaranteed all of the same constitutional protections adults enjoy and more.
Juveniles face a range of penalties. Children found delinquent by a judge or jury may receive probation with many conditions like attend counseling or stay in school and stay out of trouble while attending school.
The severity of the offense dictates the range of sentences a juvenile could face. Additionally, repeated offenses could result in incarceration at a juvenile detention facility. The prosecuting body can elect to bring the charges in adult court using a process called “Certification.” When a court certifies that a child can face criminal charges in adult court, which means the child can receive the same sentence as though he or she is an adult. That means a child could face imprisonment in the state correctional facility for the same term an adult might get.
Justice for Your Child is a Phone Call Away
Contact Parker County Juvenile Criminal Attorney Jeff Hampton today at 817-877-5201 to discuss the charges your child or ward faces in Parker County. Allow Attorney Hampton to use his wealth of knowledge and experiences defend your child or ward. This is such a precarious time for your child, make the right call for them so that your child can get the rehabilitation he or she needs to avoid falling into the trap of incarceration. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Hampton understands how to best help your child in juvenile court.