When children who are 10 years old through 16 years old are accused of a crime, the cases are prosecuted in a juvenile court located at the Scott D. Moore Juvenile Justice Center in Fort Worth, TX. Charges against juveniles can include serious felony offenses, as well as all Class A and B misdemeanors.
Children accused of a crime have the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney represent them at every stage of the case. Never let your child speak to a law enforcement officer or detective about a criminal accusation until after you have retained an attorney experienced in criminal defense in the juvenile courts in Fort Worth and Tarrant County, TX.
Most juvenile charges are proven by the confession, so by preventing your child from making a statement, your child might have a much easier time getting the case resolved under more favorable terms or avoiding prosecution altogether.
Juvenile Defense Lawyer | Ft Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Southlake, TX
If your child is being investigated for a criminal offense in Fort Worth or the surrounding areas in Tarrant County, TX, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Our attorneys are experienced in fighting cases in juvenile court. We work hard to help our clients understand the charges pending against them and the best way to resolve the case.
Our juvenile defense attorneys in Fort Worth are familiar with the tactics used by the Tarrant County Juvenile Court and the Tarrant County Juvenile Probation Department. Contact or call (817) 422-5350 to discuss your case today. Let us put our experience to work for you.
The Most Common Charges in Juvenile Court in Texas
The most common types of criminal allegations made against a juvenile include drug crimes such as selling, giving, or delivering to another person or possessing, using, or being under the influence of any amount of:
- marihuana or a controlled substance, as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code, or by 21 U.S.C. Section 801 et seq.;
- a dangerous drug, as defined by Chapter 483, Health and Safety Code; or
- an alcoholic beverage, as defined by Section 1.04, Alcoholic Beverage Code.
Other accusations in juvenile court involve serious misbehavior such as:
- harassment under Section 42.07(a)(1), Penal Code, of a student or district employee;
- personal hazing under Section 37.152;
- criminal mischief under Section 28.03, Penal Code;
- indecent exposure under Section 21.08, Penal Code;
- public lewdness under Section 21.07, Penal Code; or
- conduct that constitutes coercion, as defined by Section 1.07, Penal Code.
The Ways Juvenile Cases are Resolved in Tarrant County
If your child is accused of violating the law then retain a criminal defense attorney as early in the process as possible. After an allegation is made against a child under the age of 17 years old, the case is first referred to the court intake unit where a PACT assessment occurs. Depending on the results, the intake officer has the discretion to resolve certain cases for supervisory caution or deferred prosecution.
The PACT is the Positive Achievement Change Tool to determine the child’s risk of reoffending and the services needed if any. For more serious cases, the facts of the case are reviewed by a prosecutor with the Criminal District Attorney’s Office. The intake prosecutor then decides whether a petition should be filed (often called a “formal charge” or “formal charges”). The filing of formal charges can trigger the school to start a process to change the child’s placement into alternative schools, virtual schools or to expel the child from school
If a petition is scheduled then a court appearance will be scheduled before one of four judges. If the child is in the detention center, then the case is scheduled within ten working days. If the child is not in detention, then the case is scheduled for three weeks.
In some cases, the prosecutor with the Criminal District Attorney’s Office in Tarrant County will decide not to file any charges (often called the “no file”). The no file might be conditioned on the child entering Deferred Prosecution supervision. If the petition is filed, then the child absolutely needs a criminal defense attorney before the first court date to answer the charges.
Juvenile cases in juvenile court in Fort Worth and Tarrant County, TX, move much faster than criminal cases in adult court. By retaining a criminal defense attorney as early in the process as possible, you can help your child resolve the case on the best possible terms.
Criminal Defense in Juvenile Court in Tarrant County
Our attorneys are familiar with the tactics used by juvenile prosecutors in the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office and the Tarrant County Juvenile Probation Department. Although the juvenile courts are supposed to be focused on rehabilitation, many prosecutors see their job as punishing the child and creating a record that will follow the child forever.
The prosecutors also want to place children into programs and services. Available programs and services include in-home programs such as deferred prosecution, drug court, probation supervision, and the Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program, as well as out-of-home placements such as boys and girls ranches, drug rehabilitation facilities, and mental health facilities.
For juvenile offenders in need of the highest levels of supervision and intervention, the prosecutor will often seek placement in the custody of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
Juvenile Defense Additional Resources
Juvenile Court Prosecutors in the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office – These juvenile prosecutors review and prosecute cases involving crimes committed by children ages 10 through 16. Juvenile prosecutors review offense referrals from law enforcement agencies in Tarrant County. These prosecutors work with the Tarrant County Juvenile Court and the Tarrant County Juvenile Probation Department.
Juvenile Law Section of the Texas Bar – The Juvenile Law Section of the State Bar hosts two conferences a year. The first juvenile justice conference is held in February and the second conference is held in July or August. The conferences are designed to help juvenile justice practitioners with the basic fundamentals and principles of juvenile law.
Indigent Defense in the Texas Juvenile Justice System – This report published in June of 2014 was created by the Texas Indigent Defense Commission and the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. Find information on Texas Family Code Section 51.10 that creates the right to assistance of counsel in juvenile cases and provides some of the procedures needed to implement that right.
323rd District Court – Juvenile Delinquency Cases – In juvenile court, the District Judge is the Honorable Timothy A. Menikos, the Associate Judges include the Honorable Ellen Smith, the Honorable Kim Brown, and the Honorable James Teel.
Scott D. Moore Juvenile Justice Center
2701 Kimbo Road
Fort Worth, TX 76111
Find A Tarrant County Defense Attorney for Juvenile Defense | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
Our firm can represent clients during every stage of the case from the initial investigation, the detention hearings, status conferences, and the final adjudicatory hearing. Our attorneys in Fort Worth represent juveniles in the detention hearing, the adjudication hearing, and the disposition hearing.
Your child needs an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect their rights and help the child find the best way to resolve the case. Call an attorney at the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy in Fort Worth, TX, to discuss the felony or misdemeanor case. Call (817) 422-5350 today.
My child was spoken to by the police on a juvenile crime without myself being there, is that legal?
Yes, depending on the nature of the crime, a court upon recommendation of the juvenile division can require your child to stay in another location with a supervising relative. This requirement can be expanded after the case is finished if the child is placed on probation. This is common in cases involving sexual assault.
If you want your child returned to your home, your presence at all hearings is essential.