Juvenile Criminal Defense

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Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Juvenile Law:

Q. I received a “NOTICE OF RIGHT TO PETITION FOR THE SEALING OF RECORDS” letter in the mail. Can I now seal my child’s records?

A. Receiving a letter like this means your child is eligible to have his or her record sealed. 

Q. Aren’t juvenile records automatically sealed once the case is closed?

A. No, juvenile records are not automatically sealed unless ordered by the court. However, there is restricted access to their record.
 

Q. My child was accused of a criminal offense. I was told to bring him/her to the juvenile justice center and talk to an intake officer (probation officer). We met with the officer but nothing ever happened with the case and we never went to court. I thought the case was closed and that there was no record since we never went to court. If nothing happened with the case, why does he/she have a record?

A. More than likely your child was entered into the juvenile system upon meeting with the intake officer. Once a child is entered into the juvenile system, a record will exist unless it is sealed.
 

Q. How do I seal my child’s record?

A. You must petition the court to seal the record, but you need to make sure that your child is eligible. There are several factors that must be taken into consideration, such as, type of offense, age and last contact with probation department.
 

Q. My child was picked up last night and is being detained in the juvenile detention center. How can I get him out? Can I bond him out?

A. No, you cannot bond him out. Juveniles do not have access to bonds. However, he has a right to a detention hearing within 48 hours to determine if he can be released. If he is not released, another detention hearing will be held every 10 business days.
 

Q. What kind of rights does my child have?

A. Like an adult, a juvenile has rights under the United States and Texas Constitutions. Juvenile law is a combination of the Texas Family Code and Criminal Code. Your child has the right to remain silent, does not have to answer questions from the police or school officials and can ask for an attorney at any time.
 

Q. My child was questioned by the police without my permission. Can they do that?

A. Yes, your child can be questioned by police or school officials. However, your child does not have to answer any questions and has the right to remain silent and ask for an attorney at any time.