Although it can be a heartbreaking experience when a juvenile is suddenly implicated in the commission of a crime, achieving the best possible outcome can provide a solid foundation for a young person and family to move on to a brighter future. Fortunately, the vast majority of juvenile crimes are first-time misdemeanor offenses. Some of the most common juvenile criminal offenses are listed below:
- Vandalism and graffiti offenses
- Shoplifting or petty theft
- Fight-related simple assault charges
- Underage alcohol consumption
- Joyriding driver violations
Felony convictions for juveniles make the task of moving on a little more difficult. Understandably, many parents find it necessary to engage the services of a criminal defense attorney to protect the legal interests of their children. Serious felony crimes like grand theft and homicide present many legal entanglements.
The Texas Juvenile Justice Department usually responds to juvenile offenses with alternative sentences that emphasize rehabilitation rather than punishment. A typical sentence for a juvenile offender might involve rehabilitation or educational classes, community service or the payment of a fine.
When a juvenile commits a serious crime by making decisions that are similar to those of an adult, they may be tried as an adult. The option of prosecuting a juvenile as an adult is usually reserved for extremely violent crimes such as murder and sexual assault.
A juvenile is usually eligible for a more lenient sentence than an adult. The sentence that is ultimately imposed will depend on the nature of the crime as well as the age and criminal record of the offender. Simple offenses such as vandalism are often resolved by writing a letter of apology to the victim or paying a small fine. Any of the following alternative sentences may be imposed by the judge in a juvenile case:
- Completion of a mandatory counseling program
- Participation in a parole or probation program
Alternative juvenile sentences often include incentives that can result in early release from probation, parole or other court-imposed commitments. Establishing a strong record of cooperation and good behavior can provide a firm foundation for permanently exiting the criminal justice system.
An attorney or law firm that specializes in guiding juvenile offenders and parents safely through the criminal justice system can be especially valuable in a juvenile crimes case. Lawyers who have extensive experience representing juvenile clients are in a position to provide practical legal advice.
Call The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp at 713-868-6100 to get a free legal consultation of your juvenile crimes case.