Children in Trouble
For many parents, the arrest of a child is a nightmare. If your child has recently been arrested, you probably have many questions: will your child face jail time? How does the juvenile justice system work? How will this arrest or conviction change your child’s life or future? David Enos, an experienced juvenile defense attorney can answer these questions for you. If a child is charged with a crime, the law requires that they have an attorney represent them. Despite being a juvenile offense, these charges can carry some serious penalties including lengthy incarceration in a correctional facility and expensive fines. Contacting a lawyer as soon is you learn of a potential charge is one of the best things a parent can do to protect their child’s future. A good attorney can do much more than represent your child in front of the judge. David Enos can walk your family through the system, explain your options, and give sound parenting advice to steer your child through the next few years. If your child has been arrested for any juvenile offense in Amarillo or the Texas Panhandle then contact juvenile defense attorney David Enos to discuss your child's case. Never allow your child to speak to any law enforcement officer until after you have spoken to an attorney. Your child can invoke his right to remain silent by stating "I do not wish to make any statement until after I have spoken to an attorney."
Amarillo Juvenile Defense Attorney
Children under the age of 18 can be charged with many misdemeanor or felony offenses. David Enos is experienced in representing children who have been charged with a variety of criminal offenses. The Law Offices of David Enos represent children charged with juvenile offenses anywhere in the greater Amarillo area and has the experience to make sure that this arrest is merely a stepping stone in your child’s life, and not the end of their future. If your child has been arrested or charged with a crime in Amarillo or the surrounding areas, you should contact our office at (806Juvenile Crime Information Center
The Juvenile System in Texas
In Texas, if a person between the ages of 10 and 17 is arrested, or a person between the ages of 17 and 18 is arrested for their actions before their 17th birthday, they will generally be tried as a child in juvenile court. When the child is arrested, the juvenile probation department will begin the process. The intake process is used to see if the offender meets the definition of “child” described above, and if it is likely that the child committed the crime. During intake it will also be decided whether the child will be detained prior to trial.
There is a presumption that the child will be released pending trial. However, if any of the following criteria are met, the child will be detained:
- the child is likely to leave/be taken from the court’s jurisdiction;
- the child has no parent or guardian, or does not receive adequate supervision or care from their parent/guardian;
- the child is a danger to himself or others; or
- the child has a previous conviction.
If the child is detained, two hearings will be held. First, a probable cause hearing will be held within 48 hours. Then a detention hearing will be held within 1-2 business days. Subsequent detention hearings will be held every 10-15 days, to determine if the child should remain in custody pending trial.
The child will then have a two-step hearing. The first part is called the adjudication phase. This is where a jury will determine whether the child committed the offense or not. Children are not found “guilty” or “not guilty”; rather, the jury will decide whether the petition (charges) against the child is “true” or “not true.” In order to find “true”, the decision must be unanimous. If the child decides not to go through with the adjudication phase of trial, they may penter a “stipulation”, which is the equivalent to pleading guilty. The trial will progress directly to disposition. The second part of the trial is the disposition phase where the Judge decides what punishments the child will receive.
The main focus of the juvenile justice system is rehabilitation of the child and the family, not punishment. Although the child will face punishment, the purpose of that punishment is to convince the child and change their behavior and develop a support system at home.
What to Do if Your Child is Arrested
If your child is arrested, you have to act quickly to protect their rights. The most important thing you should do is contact attorney David Enos before the child says anything to law enforcement or school officials. You and your attorney should discuss all aspects of your child’s situation. David Enos will use this information to determine whether the police had probable cause to arrest your child, whether the child might be detained prior to trial, and how to best defend your child. Many parents find that the arrest becomes a good learning experience for the entire family.
Consequences of Juvenile Crime
The court will consider a variety of punishments depending on the child’s age, the nature of the crime, and whether this is the child’s first offense. Attorney David Enos can advise you regarding what will likely happen to your child. Some options include:
- Deferred prosecution: a 6 month voluntary probation period. If the child violates the terms of the probation, then the case will be prosecuted; of not the case is closed.
- Incarceration by the Texas Youth Commission. The length of the commitment depends on the child’s criminal history and the nature of the crime.
- Probation (either in the home or in foster care,) until the age of 18.
David Enos Amarillo Juvenile Defense Attorney
If your child is arrested, your time to protect their rights and their future is limited. You should contact the Law Offices of David Enos immediately to schedule a free consultation at (806)372-7307. Amarillo criminal defense attorney, David Enos, represents juvenile defendants in Amarillo, Canyon and the surrounding areas.
Information on this website is based on general principles of law. They may not apply to your situation. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice and no reliance should be placed on the legal principles set forth in this website. This is why you should personally consult with attorney David Enos about your case.