Texas Juvenile Defense Lawyer

Juvenile Crime Defense — Houston, Galveston, League City, Texas

Having your child arrested for a crime is devastating. In addition to their fears about the child’s future, parents face overwhelming immediate concerns. How do I get my child out of juvenile detention? What is the legal process? Will my child be treated as an adult? Tad Nelson of Tad Nelson & Associates in Galveston and League City, Texas, knows that parents need answers to these questions. His law firm is staffed to provide you with those answers, allowing you to take control of the situation and assist with your child’s defense.

Contact an experienced and caring juvenile criminal defense lawyer if your child has been charged with a crime. You do not want to trust your child’s future to an inexperienced attorney.

What are Juvenile Crimes?

Tad Nelson has been defending juveniles in both adult and family court for many years. While the language of family court, where juveniles are usually tried, differs from that used for adults, the criminal charges are the same. Tad Nelson has seen every sort of juvenile crime, including drug possession, underage drinking, sex crimes, and property crimes such as vandalism, and trespassing.

Consequences of Juvenile Charges

The consequences of a juvenile criminal charge are progressive. Once a child has been adjudicated as a delinquent (rather than being convicted in adult court) the penalties for subsequent crimes increase. You do not want your child to be raised in the justice system. That is why it is critical to have an experienced criminal defense attorney defending your child.

Tad Nelson works to develop reduced charges and alternative punishments, lessening the chance that your child will spend time in a detention facility, or face stiffer penalties for mistakes later in life. Contact Tad Nelson, a knowledgeable and caring juvenile crime lawyer. He helps parents face the stress of having a child charged with a crime.

How A Skilled Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help?

To help you understand how a criminal lawyer can help, let’s use a minor being charged with sexual assault as an example. How a criminal offense is charged and prosecuted in Texas depends on a number of factors, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, the severity of the offense in question, and the age of the accused at the time of arrest. The latter tends to have particularly significant repercussions, as minors are often eligible to be tried in the juvenile court system and so face less severe consequences for conviction. Being convicted of a sex crime can, however, still have devastating long-term consequences for a minor, making it especially important for those who are accused of this kind of crime, to reach out to an experienced Houston sex crimes lawyer for help. 

Benefits of Juvenile Court 

Under Texas law, any sexual contact with a child who is under the age of 17 years old constitutes sexual assault. Although it may seem illogical, no exceptions are made when both participants are under age. If, however, the person being accused of the offense is also under the age of 17 years old, his or her case will most likely be handled in juvenile court. This can have important consequences for defendants, as juveniles who plead guilty to, or are convicted of, criminal offenses in juvenile court are generally adjudicated delinquent rather than being convicted. 

An adjudicated delinquent ruling can have important repercussions for defendants because juvenile courts generally have more leeway when it comes to deciding whether a minor should be required to register as a sex offender. For instance, judges often order the youth in question to attend counseling before making a decision regarding registration as a sex offender. Furthermore, even if a juvenile offender is ordered by a judge to register, it is often only for a ten year period, rather than a lifetime requirement. This type of discretion is not permitted in adult sex offense cases. 

Romeo and Juliet Defense 

Minors who have been accused of sexual assault also have access to a  defense specifically designed to address cases in which a minor is accused of committing sexual assault against someone close to his or her age. Commonly known as the Romeo and Juliet clause, this law is an affirmative defense that juvenile defendants can raise if:

  • The accused was no more than three years older than the other party;
  • The accused was not registered as a sex offender at the time of the offense;
  • The accused’s sexual partner was no younger than 14 years old; and
  • The sexual relationship was consensual. 

Defendants who successfully raise the Romeo and Juliet argument as a defense could avoid conviction, as well as the subsequent sex offender registration requirement.

Navigating sexual assault offenses can be particularly difficult when the accused is a minor. Having a skilled attorney on your side can make all the difference in the outcome of this type of case. To learn more, please get in touch with us and speak to a member of our Houston sex crimes legal team at The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today.