Being accused of a felony is terrifying at any age, but particularly for children. Texas Juvenile Law is designed to be lenient towards children. However, juveniles facing felony charges are afforded much less leniency. If eligible, the State may seek to try them as an adult. To mitigate the repercussions of a felony charge, you must retain a criminal lawyer immediately.
Texas Juvenile Law Felonies
Felony charges are reserved for the most severe offenses. Under Texas Juvenile Law, the following offenses carry a felony charge:
- 1st Degree Arson
- Aggravated or 1st Degree Controlled Substance
- Deadly Conduct
- Aggravated Assault
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Kidnapping
- Intoxication Manslaughter
- Attempted Capital Murder
- Capital Murder
Juvenile Felony Punishments
In instances of flagrant offenses, the State may decide to issue harsher punishment. In these cases, two options are available:
- Request the juvenile court waive its jurisdiction over the child and certify them as an adult. A judge will evaluate the following factors while deliberating to waive jurisdiction, the juveniles:
- __sophistication and maturity
- __previous history and record
- __rehabilitation by use of services, procedures, and facilities available
- __alleged offense (specifically if it was against a person or property)
- Seek a determinate sentence that potentially allows the juvenile’s punishment to be transferred out of juvenile prison into adult prison.
Certification as an Adult
In cases where the felony offense is severe or particularly egregious, the State may seek to certify a juvenile as an adult. In theory, a juvenile adult certification should only occur in the rarest and most extreme cases. Unfortunately, Texas is known to certify juveniles as adults regularly. Adult certification can be sought if the juvenile is at least 15 years old at the time the alleged offense was committed. However, a special exception may be permitted for juveniles who are 14 years old and accused of:
- an aggravated controlled-substance felony
- a first-degree felony
- a capital offense
If the certification is successful, instead of being tried in juvenile court, they will be tried in adult court. If convicted, a certified juvenile would be facing punishment in an adult facility and could face a life sentence with the chance of parole. The only leniency provided to certified juveniles is they are not eligible for the punishment of life without parole or the death penalty.
Juvenile Determinate Sentencing
In certain cases, the prosecution may decide to invoke determinate sentencing. The State reserves this sentencing for serious offenses to be served out in the custody of the Texas Youth Commission.
Once children reach adulthood, they may be transferred to a Texas State Prison to serve out the remainder of their sentence. The following are the determinate sentencings your child could face:
- 3rd Degree Felony: up to 10 years in custody
- 2nd Degree Felony: up to 20 years in custody
- Aggravated Controlled Substances Felony: up to 40 years in custody
- 1st Degree Felony: up to 40 years in custody
Collateral Consequences of a Felony Conviction
Felony convictions will continue to haunt juveniles long after completing their sentence. Restrictions for convicted felons in Texas include:
- serving on a jury
- licensing for specific professions
- holding public office
- government program eligibility
- voting rights
- scholarship and educational funding (as well as educational institution admittance)
- gun ownership
- government benefits
Hire a Criminal Lawyer Immediately
If convicted of a felony, even as a juvenile, the consequences are long-lasting and potentially disastrous. At AZ Law Firm, we believe everyone deserves a second chance, especially the most vulnerable among us: our children. We will fight for charges to be dropped, deferred adjudication, and keep your child’s case in juvenile court. We’re here to help. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation, and we’ll begin strategizing your child’s defense.
To find out how we can help you, contact our Texas Juvenile Law criminal defense attorneys at 512-400-7070 for juvenile felony defense. We will schedule an initial client consultation to review your case details and lay out a game plan for your juvenile felony case. AZ Law Firm will pursue the legal action necessary to secure the fairest possible outcome for you and your loved ones.
- evaluating and explaining to you the pros and cons of your individual case
- discussing with you any available options and our proposed strategies as it relates to your case
- providing guidance and recommendations regarding any proposed settlement offer
- quickly and effectively communicating with you during each step of the process so that you are not left in the dark
- taking your case solely on a contingent fee basis
- and aggressively protecting and defending your rights
We understand times are tough and that there probably hasn’t been a tougher time in your life. Although we could get away with charging exuberant amounts, we prefer not to as we are a law firm by the people, for the people. We do not want you to worry about whether you can afford to hire an attorney to protect and defend your rights. Call us and be surprised at the quality you receive compared to what other law firms will quote you!
Accordingly, the attorneys at AZ Law Firm will always provide you with a free initial consultation. During this initial consultation, our criminal lawyers will evaluate your case, inform you of any legal options that may be available, and allow you to ask any questions that you may have. AZ Law Firm offers affordable rates for all our clients and will work with you on payment plans. Our firm accepts checks, debit cards, and most major credit cards to cover the costs of your legal representation.