Finding out your child is under arrest might just qualify as one of the top 10 parental nightmares. Your child is in danger, and the situation is largely out of your control.
Yet there are steps you can take to help your child during this difficult time. Here’s what you need to know.
The Definition of a “Child” Under Texas Law
A child may be charged in juvenile court from age 10 to age 17. Under Texas law, a child may be tried as an adult after age 17.
Yet there are times when children as young as 14 may be charged as adults under Texas laws. Being charged as an adult is a danger when the charge is for a serious or violent felony offense.
Once a child is tried as an adult, they will be considered an adult to try any subsequent offenses.
Being tried as an adult means facing time in an adult prison. In addition, being tried as an adult means any conviction will remain on the child’s permanent record. Juvenile charges are sealed when the child turns 18.
Understand Children Have Constitutional Rights
There is no age limit on constitutional rights in the United States of America, only on voting rights.
If the police violated your child’s rights at any point during the process, we can use that fact to suppress vital evidence. Sometimes, violating a child’s constitutional rights is sufficient to get charges dropped or dismissed.
In addition, in Texas, parents or guardians must be informed that a child has been taken into custody. The juvenile must receive a detention hearing within 48 hours to determine if the child should be released into a parent’s custody or if they will be held until their court appearance.
Control the Flow of Information
Do not talk to the police. They are not your friends. They are not your child’s friends.
Nothing you can say to them or give to them will stop the process once they arrest your child and deliver them to the juvenile detention facility.
Anything you say could be used against your child.
In addition, discourage your child from sharing information about the alleged facts of the case with you. The prosecution could force you onto the stand to testify against your own child. Discourage relatives, friends, and others from pressuring your child for information. Reassure them that your lawyer is handling matters.
Help Locate Exculpatory Evidence
You may help your child by finding alibi witnesses, receipts that support an alibi, timesheets, or any other details that can help your lawyer prove that your child wasn’t involved with the alleged crime.
Speak to your child’s lawyer to determine what might be helpful, and try to get those pieces of information to their lawyer as quickly as possible.
Give Your Child Emotional Support
Right now, your child needs to know that you love and stand by them no matter what. Making it clear that you won’t abandon your child regardless of what the verdict looks like may go a long way towards helping your child survive the frightening experience they’re going through.
Don’t forget to take advantage of any self-care measures you can afford. The journey through the court system will be long, and it’s important to give yourself the mental and emotional resources you’ll need to work through the process.
Understand A Private Lawyer Can Do More For Your Child
We understand that the expense of hiring a private lawyer may frighten you. Nevertheless, it’s one of the best ways to protect your child. A private lawyer has the time to review every fact of the case, contact all available witnesses, and dig deep to find solutions.
Public defenders are good people, but here in Texas, they’re under-resourced and overwhelmed. We work with our clients to keep our services affordable, so don’t dismiss the possibility out of hand. Instead, contact us so we can start the process of helping your child and discuss your options.
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