Any parent finds it hard to believe their child may be a criminal. This is especially true if that child is actually still a child. However, while arrests of children are actually declining, there were still nearly 4,000 arrests made in 2012 for those between 10 and 17 years old. Crimes range from loitering to aggravated assault.
The law is usually lenient when it comes to juvenile offenders. In Houston, no child below the age of 10 years old is liable for any crime. The reason for this tolerance is the belief that children don’t understand the seriousness or consequences of their actions.
However, it would be a mistake to count on this, especially if the crime is a serious one. The punishment can be severe, even in juvenile court. Children may even face charges in adult court. This means they may get the same punishment as an adult offender.
Dntriallaw.com states that children under 17 years old can be punished in a juvenile court. Even if the child goes through the juvenile justice system, this doesn’t guarantee smooth sailing.
The juvenile court works differently than adult court. There’s no bail and no jury. The child remains in custody until the court date.
The judge then decides on whether a crime was committed or not, and what the punishment will be. In most cases, when the child admits guilt for a minor crime, the judge will put them on probation. The judge might require the juvenile offender to go to a rehabilitation center or juvenile home, if there’s a history of getting in trouble.
Fight the charge
While probation means there’s no jail time, and a juvenile home is nothing like adult prisons, it’s still a conviction. The records will still show “conduct in need of supervision”. It may also have a lasting effect on your child’s emotional and psychological health.
This can have serious consequences for the kid’s future. This is a shame, especially if the child is a first-time offender. As parents, you should do what you can to avoid a conviction.
It may be easier to let your child accept a conviction or pay a fine, but their future may be at stake. It’s your right and responsibility as a parent to give them a chance to avoid a criminal conviction.