Despite some common misconceptions criminal matters involving juveniles are quite serious and a juvenile conviction can impact a young person’s life well into adulthood. In certain instances the prosecuting attorney may choose to try a juvenile as an adult or attempt to obtain a conviction that will remain on a juvenile’s record even after they have reached the age of majority.
Criminal cases in Texas involving juveniles under the age of 17 are administered under the Texas Family Code. A child who “is alleged to have engaged in delinquent conduct” that is prohibited by the Texas Penal Code can face a wide variety of possible penalties, including probation, instructional classes and even confinement in certain instances. In many juvenile cases complex evidentiary questions can arise. When the witnesses to or victims of alleged juvenile crimes are themselves juveniles, reliability concerns may play a significant role in the outcome of the case. Additionally, a young person’s apparent awareness of the magnitude of their alleged conduct can be a factor in both culpability and discipline.
Juveniles accused of committing criminal acts are entitled to most of the same rights as adult defendants. If necessary, their case can be tried before a judge and jury who will determine the issues of law and fact at question in the matter. With the right advice and instruction from legal counsel it is often possible for juveniles accused of committing crimes in Texas to avoid the worst of the potential consequences they can face.
In some instances, if there have been no prior allegations of misconduct, an outright dismissal of the charges may be possible. We have experience successfully defending juveniles that have been charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses.
Sex crimes carry some of the most serious penalties available under Texas law. A lengthy prison sentence and sex offender registration are very real possibilities if you are convicted of a sex crime. In this situation aggressive legal representation is essential.
There are many different types of criminal sex offenses in Texas. The age of the alleged victim and the particular act in question can enhance the possible penalty range a person facing a sex charge may encounter. In general, offenses involving an assault carry more severe possible penalties than indecent exposure and lewd conduct. However the requirement to register as a sex offender can apply in many different instances upon conviction, making employment and homeownership especially difficult.
Special rules of procedure and evidence can apply in sex crime cases. This can include the admission or exclusion of medical, testimonial and documentary evidence. A pretrial ruling concerning a crucial piece of evidence can easily have a major impact on the final outcome of a sex case.
An individual facing a sex crime accusation typically has many questions. Who is really pushing for the charges to be pursued? Is there DNA or other medical evidence? How can I clear my name and preserve my freedom and reputation? Our law firm has the knowledge and experience necessary to aggressively defend you in the event you are facing this difficult situation.
Class “C” Misdemeanors & Fine-Only Offenses
Although lower level offenses prosecuted at the municipal level may seem minor, serious consequences can arise if proper legal action is not taken. A failure to appear in court or to pay required fines and fees can result in the issuance of a warrant for your arrest, as well as additional financial penalties. A conviction for a fine-only offense can raise your insurance premiums and can eventually lead to a suspension of your driver’s license in the event of multiple convictions.
Some offenses prosecuted at the municipal level can carry far more serious collateral consequences than most people realize. For example, a class “C” misdemeanor assault may still result in an affirmative finding of family violence if the accused is in a marriage or dating relationship with the complaining witness. In the event of a conviction for this type of offense there are limitations placed on applying to have damaging records of the case sealed from public view. Additionally, your right to own and possess firearms may be curtailed. Other fine-only offenses include possession of drug paraphernalia. Many employers assume that an individual convicted of this type of offense engages in or is associated with illegal drug use. This can be a barrier to employment opportunities and can limit your ability to find work in certain industries.
Fortunately there are often avenues available to limit or eliminate the potential consequences you face when charged with a class “C” misdemeanor or fine-only offense. Our experienced lawyers are equipped to effectively defend your case and protect your record.