The Law Offices of William Nolen & Associates, PLLC.

In Texas, juveniles are defined as minors, older than 10 years of age and under the age of 17. Juveniles are treated differently than adult offenders and the general goal of the juvenile system is rehabilitation as opposed to punishment. However, the penalties in the juvenile system can still be severe. Some offenses, such as truancy and breaking curfew, are unique to juveniles, and would not be illegal if the accused were an adult. The juvenile justice system generally moves much more quickly than does the adult criminal justice system. Don’t wait to hire a good juvenile defense lawyer to represent your child.

There are separate courts and rules that govern the juvenile process. The juvenile court system will generally make every effort to rehabilitate the child rather than simply incarcerate him. Only in extreme cases, such as serious felonies, usually involving allegations of violence or the use of a deadly weapon, will a juvenile be tried as an adult. The juvenile courts may hold a hearing to determine whether to transfer the juvenile to the adult court system. This is called a “transfer hearing.” The court will base its decision to transfer on the following factors:

  • The seriousness of the offense
  • The child’s criminal sophistication
  • Previous criminal record
  • Previous attempts to rehabilitate the juvenile offender
  • The court’s belief that future attempts at rehabilitation will be unsuccessful

While many of the laws governing juveniles may differ from the adult system, the rights that juveniles enjoy are virtually identical to those enjoyed by adults.

  • A juvenile must be read his Miranda rights if placed under arrest.
  • A juvenile has the right to have an attorney present during interrogation.
  • A juvenile has the right to know the specific charges being brought by the State.
  • A juvenile has rights against self-incrimination.
  • A juvenile has the right to confront his accuser and examine witnesses.
  • A juvenile has the right to appeal the court’s decision.
  • A juvenile does have the right to a jury trial during the adjudication phase