Fort Worth Juvenile Cases – Justin Sparks Law Firm
Under Title 3 of the Juvenile Justice Code all persons who commit a crime while between the ages of 10 and 17 are prosecuted as juveniles. The juvenile court system is a hybrid Civil and Criminal system.
Alternatives to Court for Juveniles
First Offender Program
A peace officer has the discretion under Sec. 52.031 to release a juvenile into the First Offender Program. The program includes voluntary restitution, community service, educational training, vocational training, counseling, and periodic reporting, without the case being referred to juvenile court. A successful completion of this program results in the case being closed. However, failure to successfully complete the program results in the case being referred to juvenile court.
A child may not qualify for the First Offender Program if he/she committed a first, second, or third degree felony, an aggravated controlled substance felony, or a capital felony.
The probation department has the option under Sec. 53.03 to defer prosecution and place a child under 6 months of supervision, without referring the case to juvenile court.
When a case is referred to juvenile court, the prosecutor files a petition for the court to determine that the child has engaged in delinquent conduct or is in need of supervision. In serious felony cases, the prosecutor also has the option to refer the case to the grand jury for prosecution of the juvenile as an adult offender, which has harsher consequences.
A juvenile can be tried by a judge or jury and, if found to be delinquent, faces a disposition hearing similar to a punishment hearing for an adult. A juvenile court can place an offender on probation with certain rules that have to be followed, send the offender to a juvenile facility for a period of time, or award custody of the juvenile to another guardian.
Hire an Attorney with Juvenile Court Experience
A juvenile, like an adult charged with a crime, has the right to an attorney. It is imperative to hire an attorney experienced in juvenile defense before the First Offender Program and Deferred Prosecution options are no longer available. Even if it is not possible for the juvenile to avoid court, the outcome of litigation can be much worse if the child is not represented by a good attorney.
Justin Sparks is a Fort Worth juvenile crimes attorney who previously served as a Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney. Justin has been awarded the top honor of being named, by peer vote, a Rising Star for Criminal Law from 2014-2016 (Thompson Reuters service printed in Texas Monthly) and a top FW criminal defense attorney by Fort Worth Magazine (2010-2012, 2014-2016). He offers a free confidential consultation and analysis of your case. Call him today at 817-334-0300.
Justin Sparks has been defending clients across Fort Worth and Dallas for over ten years. Our firm helps you through the criminal process, from investigation to appeals, if need be. Free consultations for all new cases.