Houston Juvenile Defense Lawyer

Most of the time, the state recognizes that young people should be treated differently than adults who commit crimes. The focus for juveniles is on correcting delinquency, rather than on punishment. However, if the juvenile is accused of a serious felony, the state may be interested in incarcerating them for as long as possible.

If your son or daughter is in trouble and you don’t know where to turn, please contact the Houston juvenile defense lawyers at the Law Offices of David A. Breston today for a free phone consultation. We respect young people and work to protect their rights, their freedoms, and their futures.

Don’t risk your future by hiring the wrong lawyer today. You can trust the Law Office of David A. Breston for representation that gets results. Contact our firm today to learn more about the Texas Juvenile Justice System.

Though the terms are different than for adults facing probation, violations are still a serious offense. The court will determine the exact consequences based on the severity and number of violations.

The terms and rules can be strict, but probation is often the preferred method for adjudicating juvenile delinquent acts, as it less harsh and more likely to effect rehabilitation than incarceration. If your child has committed a delinquent act and you wish to pursue probation as the sentence instead of incarceration, enlist the help of a skilled juvenile defense attorney.

When appropriate, we will recommend that our young clients receive treatment for drug or alcohol dependency or counseling. These proactive steps show the court you are addressing your problems and taking responsibility for your actions. The judge may be more lenient with you or recommend your case for deferred prosecution. In a juvenile case this is where the case is reset for 6 months, and if the juvenile completes this deferred period, there case will be treated as if it had been dismissed, as the juvenile never pleads guilty. If they commit a new crime or violate the terms of the probation, they return to court. This is different from adult deferred adjudication — a second chance involving probation and community service. If successfully completed, the case is dismissed as if nothing ever happened.

Young People Have Rights, Too.

Teachers, employers, police officers, and others often treat young people as if they have no rights at all. Juveniles are forced to submit to warrantless searches and interrogations without a parent or an attorney present. Many times the police and teachers may not believe juveniles under any condition. Things that in the past would have been the subject to parental discipline are now handed over to the state for formal prosecution.

We advise clients in areas ranging from truancy violations to violent felony-level offenses that end up in adult court. Contact our firm for knowledgeable representation in all juvenile matters in Houston, including:

  • Skipping school/truancy
  • Burglary
  • Staying out after curfew
  • Underage alcohol consumption or possession
  • Drug use
  • Arson
  • Shoplifting or retail theft
  • Gang-related activities
  • Trespassing
  • Sexual misconduct

Juvenile Probation Rules and Regulations

Probation is the sentence for about half of juvenile delinquency findings, and one of the most common dispositions in cases handled by a juvenile court. Juvenile probation limits the minor’s freedom and activities. A court determines the extent and terms of probation based on the specifics of the minor’s delinquent act. The court may also order probation in addition to other dispositions, such as fines and counseling requirements.

While probation is often an alternative to incarceration by allowing the juvenile to stay at home, he or she may also face probation after first spending a short amount of time in juvenile hall.

While probation usually applies to cases involving non-violent juvenile offenders, even some violent offenders may face probation rather than incarceration.

The focus of probation, as it is with most juvenile punishments, is to help the minor become a better citizen through rehabilitation programs, rather than simply administering punishment. Compared to minors who were incarcerated as punishment for their actions, those who go through a probation period are much less likely to commit more crimes.

Probation Terms

The basic terms of probation require the juvenile to obey all laws and report to his or her probation officer regularly. Additional probation requirements based on the case specifics can include:

  • Attending certain schools
  • Attending counseling
  • Attending day treatment programs
  • Completing community service
  • Completing educational resources, such as anger management, social skills, and substance abuse classes
  • Following set curfews
  • Not associating with specific individuals, such as suspected gang members
  • Not participating in any situations associated with the initial delinquent act

While it is the responsibility of the minor to adhere to the terms of probation, the legal system also expects parents to participate in the enforcement of probation requirements.

Terms of probation can apply both during and after a minor’s hearing. Minors who admit to their delinquent acts may avoid charges against them or have their sentences dropped by completing probationary terms.

Probation Officers

The court assigns a probation officer to the minor’s case. The probation officer monitors the level of compliance with the terms of probation. The minor and the officer will meet periodically to discuss the probation and progress made on fulfilling any ongoing requirements. Failure to attend regular meetings with the probation officer is a violation of the terms of probation.

Parents and probation officers work together to help the minor fulfill the terms of probation. A parent or guardian must report any probation violations to the probation officer to promote any necessary correctional activity.

Violation of Probation

In the event of suspected probation violation, the probation officer notifies the court through a “violation of probation” notice. This begins an additional investigation into the situation. If the court determines that the minor has violated his or her probation, then the judge can impose a harsher sentence.

Possible consequences of probation violations include:

  • Extended probation time
  • Changes to the terms of probation
  • Additional correctional classes added to probation
  • Revocation of probation rights
  • Incarceration in a detention facility