Many children exhibit rebellious or otherwise difficult behavior as they grow up. In many cases, they are trying to test boundaries and find limits and gain new experiences. However, in some cases, your child could go too far, and the police could become involved.
Even if someone has not reached the legal age of adulthood, it is possible for criminal charges to come against him or her. The court handles juvenile crime differently than crimes committed by adults, but it is still serious. If your child is facing criminal charges, his or her age could play an important role as well as the details of the crime allegedly committed.
In Texas, if your child is 17 years old or younger, the law considers him or her a juvenile. When authorities suspect individuals of this age of having committed a crime, best-case outcomes involve rehabilitation and counseling to help them through this time rather than giving them harsh sentences like jail time. However, as mentioned, certain specifics of a case could warrant trying your juvenile as an adult and the potential of facing harsher consequences.
Of course, if your child harmed someone or carried out an action prohibited by law while he or she was under the age of 6 or 7, it is likely that authorities will not consider your child liable for those actions. The court typically considers children of such a young age to lack a criminal intent for their behaviors.
The court can determine whether to transfer a juvenile to adult court at its own discretion. This discretion is relatively broad and partially stems from the fact that each person matures at a different rate. As a result, a 17-year-old juvenile may have a greater maturity than someone of legal adult age. Additionally, if a juvenile commits a serious crime, like murder, transfer to adult court is likely because such a crime warrants harsher punishment.
Having a child charged with any type of crime can be a harrowing experience. Not only do you want to do your best to protect your child, but you also want to ensure that responsible parties handle the situation properly. Juvenile court can seem daunting and confusing for both you and your child, so it is wise to have a Texas legal advocate on your side throughout the proceedings.