Our compassionate, experienced defense attorneys represent clients charged with a wide array of criminal or juvenile criminal offenses. We will work diligently to protect your reputation, your record, and most importantly, your freedom.
The Texas juvenile justice system is designed to rehabilitate instead of punish—at least theoretically. The concept is to catch potentially dangerous or destructive behavior early and get kids back on track. Nevertheless, a guilty verdict in juvenile court will still often lead to your child serving time in a detention facility.
Remember that children accused of felonies who are at least 15 years old may be tried and sentenced as an adult. Furthermore, a juvenile who has been accused of a first degree felony or a capital felony could be tried as an adult at age 14.
Juvenile adjudications of guilt can affect the course of a child’s life. Even if your child is facing a relatively minor-seeming charge, it is extremely important to have effective, experienced counsel representing your child at every stage of the proceeding.
Many juvenile justice records (excepting adjudications of guilty for a sex offense or gang-related offense) are typically sealed and restricted from access by anyone but a criminal justice agency.
Juvenile records will be permanently sealed if:
- the offense was a misdemeanor;
- two years have passed since final adjudication;
- the child has not been convicted of any other offenses; and
- the child does not have any currently-pending charges.
The court may also seal a juvenile record for a felony offense if the child is now at least 19 years of age, was tried by a juvenile court, and has not been convicted of any other offense since the age of 17 years.
Expunction and Order of Non-Disclosure
As you probably already know, a criminal record can have serious repercussions in many areas of your life, often in unanticipated ways. It can be difficult to get a job, financial aid for college, and even housing if you have a criminal record. This is true even if you were wrongfully accused, arrested but not charged, charged but never tried (i.e. the charges were dismissed) and charged but acquitted of a crime. This is why Texas law allows for some criminal records to be expunged or sealed by an Order of Non-Disclosure.
The laws governing expungement (also called “expunction”) and non-disclosure are can be very confusing. If you believe your record may be eligible for expungement, you need to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your options.
Remember that certain convictions can never be expunged or sealed under Texas law. These include:
- aggravated kidnapping;
- child abandonment or endangerment;
- domestic violence offenses;
- injury to a child, disabled person, or elderly person;
- sex offenses;
- violation of a magistrate’s order;
- violation of a protective order
In Texas, there are two types of community supervision (commonly called “probation”): deferred adjudication and probation with a conviction. Deferred adjudication means that a guilty verdict or conviction was not entered in the case, pending the successful completion of the community supervision sentence. Probation with a conviction means that the defendant was convicted and sentenced but is serving a probated sentence rather than serving prison time.
Probation, or community supervision, can be revoked for a wide variety of reasons, including:
- the commission of another crime;
- failure to pay probation fines and fees;
- failure to submit to random alcohol and drug testing; failing a drug test;
- failing to complete court-ordered counseling;
- failure to perform community service;
- failure to show up for meetings with the community supervision officer
If probation is revoked, it makes a big difference whether the defendant was given deferred adjudication or probation with a conviction. A person who was given probation with a conviction is sentenced at the time of trial. So, if that person’s charge had a punishment range of 2-20 years, and he or she was sentenced to 10 years probation, that person would be facing 10 years in prison if probation was revoked.
On the other hand, a probation revocation on a deferred adjudication will expose the defendant to the full range of punishment. For example, if the punishment range is 2-20 years in prison, someone with deferred adjudication could actually end up being sentenced to spend the full 20 years in prison if his or her probation is revoked.
As you can see, probation revocation is an extremely serious matter. If you or someone you care about is facing revocation of community supervision, you need to consult with an experienced probation revocation defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Additional Criminal Defense Matters
Our criminal defense lawyers handle a variety of criminal cases including:
- Drug Charges;
- Felony Defense;
- Misdemeanor Defense;
- Parole Revocation
- Theft Charges