Q: What do I do if my child has been arrested?
A: Take it very seriously and call a juvenile defense attorney immediately. You will need to hire a lawyer with juvenile defense experience, because juvenile criminal cases are handled differently than adult criminal cases. Do not attempt to handle it on your own.
Q: Can my child be released on bail?
A: No, the Texas juvenile justice system does not allow bail for juvenile offenders. The court will hold a hearing to decide if the child can be released into his or her parent’s custody.
Q: What happens if my child is found guilty?
A: There is no guilt or innocence for juveniles in Texas. They are determined to either have engaged in delinquent conduct or not. If it is determined that your child has engaged in delinquent conduct, the court will determine what is in the best interest of the child. Depending on the severity of the conduct, the court may decide if he or she should be released into the parent’s custody, spend time in a juvenile facility or be transferred to the adult court system.
Q: As a parent, can I be held criminally and financially responsible for my child’s criminal actions?
A: Yes, parents can be held liable for the intentional or criminal actions of their children in the state of Texas. The parents can be fined, ordered to pay restitution damages to the victims, pay court costs and attorneys fee.
Q: If my child commits a crime, will it follow him or her for the rest of their life?
A: Not necessarily. Children cannot be convicted of crimes in Texas unless they are processed through the adult criminal court system and found guilty. If that happens, the record may not be expunged or sealed. If a child’s case is handled through the juvenile justice system, his or her record may be expunged depending on the circumstances of the case.