Larry P. McDougal
Larry P. McDougal - Attorney at Law
Richmond, Texas
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No juvenile criminal justice matter is considered a small deal

Juvenile criminal matters are often thought of as minor offenses, but this can't be the thought that parents have when their child is facing these issues. Parents need to realize that when a child is involved in the justice system, he or she needs help getting back on the right path. This is the goal of the juvenile justice system.

When your child is facing this type of legal trouble, it is easy to get discouraged and give up hope. This isn't a good thing to do. Instead, you need to work to ensure that your child's rights are being respected and that your child is getting help.

Types of offenses

In the juvenile justice system, there aren't the same types of offenses as what you will find in the adult system. Juveniles will face delinquent offenses, which are ones that an adult would get into trouble for doing. These include things like thefts and violence. The other type of offense is a status offense, which is something that a juvenile can get into trouble for but an adult wouldn't face legal troubles if they did the same thing. Truancy, or skipping school, is one example of a status offense.

Age is sometimes a factor

The juvenile's age is sometimes a factor. Typically, a child who isn't at least 7 years old won't face any interference from the juvenile justice system. Children who are 8 can be involved in the juvenile justice system. Kids up to 15 are considered prime candidates for this program. Some juveniles who are as young as 12 and up to those who are 18 are sometimes waived over to the adult criminal justice system. The waivers to adult court are usually reserved for very serious crimes, such as manslaughter or murder.

Not all cases enter the court system

Some cases involving juveniles might not make it to the juvenile justice system. There are ways to resolve some matters off the record. There is a wide berth of discretion for officials who handle these matters. It is essential for parents to find out what options are available in a specific case and work from there to determine what they are going to do.

All juvenile justice cases need to be handled on a case-by-case basis. Each child, family dynamic and community support system is different so the same solutions for one child with a charge won't be the best option for a child in a different circumstance.

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