Montgomery County Juvenile Crimes Lawyers
Decades of Experience from Trial Attorneys with a Winning Track Record
If your child has been accused of a crime, they will likely be handled in the juvenile court system. Our attorneys at Steinmann Law Firm have decades of experience in criminal law, and we are also deeply familiar with the juvenile law system. As criminal and family lawyers, we have a holistic understanding of the concerns you have as a parent of an accused juvenile. We will do our best to fight for your child’s defense and help them emerge with minimal penalties.
Schedule an initial consultation with the winning trial lawyers at Steinmann Law Firm to get started. Defending juveniles in Conroe, the Woodlands, and Bentwater.
Who Is a Juvenile in Texas?
According to Texas law, a juvenile is defined as a person who is at least 10 years old and is not yet 17 years of age at the time they committed:
- “delinquent conduct” that could result in imprisonment or confinement if committed by an adult; or
- “conduct in need of supervision” (CINS) that could result in a fine or not a serious crime if committed by an adult (e.g., not showing up to school).
A juvenile who engages in delinquent conduct or commits CINS can be referred to juvenile court, where they can be dealt a juvenile penalty or be returned home. If the county decides to charge the juvenile with delinquent conduct, the juvenile will have the same legal rights as an adult charged with a crime.
If the juvenile is “adjudicated” for delinquent conduct, or found to have engaged in delinquent conduct or CINS, they may face any of the following outcomes:
- The juvenile may be placed on probation
- The juvenile may be sent to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) with an indeterminate sentence (for felony crimes)
- The juvenile may be sent to the TJJD with a determinate sentence (for certain offenses)
If the juvenile is placed on probation instead of being sent to the TJJD, they must be discharged from the probation by their 18th birthday.
A juvenile sent to the TJJD with an indeterminate or determinate sentence must be discharged by the time they turn 19 years old. Additionally, a juvenile sent to the TJJD with a determinate sentence may be transferred to adult prison depending on their behavior and progress in the TJJD programs after the age of 16.
In Texas, juvenile court judges typically order indeterminate sentences, which do not specify a set number of years. Instead, the TJJD reviewers will look at the risk the juvenile poses to the public and establish a Minimum Length of Stay (MLOS) for the juvenile that may last between 9-24 months. Once they have completed their MLOS and assigned treatment programs and have displayed appropriate progress, they will be eligible for release.
Juvenile courts will send a smaller number of juveniles to the TJJD with determinate (specific) sentences. Determinate sentences can last for up to 40 years and are typically reserved for juveniles who have committed serious felonies. If sentenced juvenile shows successful progress in their TJJD treatment, they may be allowed to serve the balance of their court-mandated sentence on adult parole rather than transfer to adult prison.
Transfer to Adult Court
If a juvenile committed to the TJJD on a determinate sentence is unable to complete their sentence before they turn 19, representatives of the TJJD will determine whether it is appropriate to request a hearing to transfer the juvenile to an adult prison or to release them to adult parole. The TJJD can request a transfer hearing any time after the juvenile turns 16 years old, but the transfer procedure must be completed before the juvenile’s 19th birthday.
Aside from the TJJD procedure, the county can also request to have a juvenile tried as an adult in more serious situations. If this request is granted, the juvenile will be considered an adult for criminal purposes and will be transferred from the juvenile justice system to adult court.
If your child has been charged with a juvenile offense in Montgomery County, do not hesitate to consult our defense lawyers at Steinmann Law Firm for legal support. We can take a closer look at your child’s case to determine their legal options for minimized penalties and to avoid long-term consequences as an adult. We will do our best to keep your child in the juvenile justice system and protect their future as adults.
Reach out to Steinmann Law Firm for an initial consultation to discuss your juvenile case in more detail today.
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