What Happens if my Son Is Found Guilty in Harris County Juvenile Court?
This guide briefly describes what can happen to a child adjudicated in juvenile court. Attorney James Sullivan is Board Certified in Juvenile Law and frequently defends clients in juvenile and criminal court in Harris, Montgomery, Fort Bend and surrounding counties
What happens if my child is found guilty?Juveniles cannot be found "guilty" because the juvenile court is considered civil, not criminal. Instead, a juvenile could be found to have "engaged in delinquent conduct" if the jury or judge finds beyond a reasonable doubt that the juvenile committed the offense. Of course, an experienced juvenile defense attorney will work hard to avoid a finding of delinquency, preferably by persuading the prosecutor to dismiss the charge or the jury or the judge to acquit his client at trial.
What if my child did commit the offense? Is there any hope?If a juvenile did commit the offense, your defense attorney may be able to avoid a finding of delinquency by persuading the prosecutor or the judge to grant a deferred prosecution. This is a contract between the juvenile and the District Attorney whereby if the juvenile follows the rules of probation for six months then the District Attorney dismisses the case. Harris county prosecutors cannot agree to a deferred prosecution for certain misdemeanor offenses and all felony offenses, however James Sullivan has been successful in persuading judges to grant deferred prosecution in many such cases anyway.
What happens when a child is found delinquent in court?When a juvenile is found to have engaged in delinquent conduct, the court judgment following a disposition hearing can range from (1) a probation where the child is left in the custody of his parents (or guardians), (2) a probation where the child is removed from the home and placed in a local juvenile facility, or (3) the child in felony cases may be committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (formerly known as the Texas Youth Commission). In serious felony cases, depending on the circumstances, the juvenile may face certification or transfer to criminal district court to stand trial as an adult.