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Juvenile Pranks Could Lead to Serious Criminal Charges

Published: Jun 28, 2019 in Criminal Defense, Juvenile Crimes

Kids will be kids. No matter how well we raise them, they will always push the limits for the sake of having fun and taking risks. Unfortunately, this behavior can sometimes get them in trouble with the law. This unfortunate fact is well illustrated by a recent incident in Houston, in which a 14-year-old boy was charged with murder after an egging prank went wrong. As a result of the prank, a 45-year-old mother lost her life, and the offending teenager’s life will certainly never be the same.

At The Law Offices of Ned Barnett, we believe that everyone deserves a second chance. This is especially true when it comes to juvenile offenders. With this in mind, we vigorously defend our juvenile clients, and do everything in our power to keep their cases within the juvenile system. If your child has been charged with a crime, call a Houston juvenile defense attorney today at (713) 222-6767, or reach out through the online form to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.

When Pranks Cause Damage, Criminal Charges Are Likely

In January 2019, a 14-year-old Houston resident took his family’s car for a joy ride with two underage friends. They brought along eggs, which they threw at the other cars they passed on the road. They spotted a vintage Lincoln Continental, and pelted the collector automobile with eggs – a decision they soon regretted, as the driver of the Lincoln pulled out a semi-automatic handgun and allegedly shot at the teens.

In a panic, the teenagers ran through a red light to escape the Lincoln. Tragically, they ran into a Ford pickup, killing its driver immediately. The teenage driver escaped with only minor injuries. The Lincoln swerved around the accident and sped off. Fortunately for the family of the victim, the whole incident was caught on a traffic camera, so the driver of the Lincoln was eventually identified, apprehended, and charged with manslaughter.

Some Children May Be Tried as Adults in Texas

In Texas, anyone 17 years or older will be tried as an adult. For anyone younger than 17, the prosecutor must demonstrate that the seriousness of the charges and the youth’s history of delinquency to justify trying them as an adult. Otherwise, the young suspect’s case passes through the juvenile system, where the focus is on rehabilitation instead of punishment.

In the case of the egging prank, the youth was arrested at the scene, booked in a juvenile detention center, and initially charged with murder. Since he was 14-years-old, his case was potentially eligible for the adult criminal justice system, but he was eventually tried as a juvenile. During those proceedings, he plead guilty to the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, for which a judge sentenced him to one year of probation. Should he violate the probation, he may be removed from his parent’s custody and placed in detention.

In this case, several factors probably contributed to the teen’s case being tried in juvenile court rather than the adult criminal justice system. For one, although the teen’s actions did cause a death, there does not seem to be any evidence of his intent to cause loss of life. Furthermore, if we assume the teen did not have any significant priors, and that his lawyer did a good job of highlighting these facts to the judge, it makes sense that the case stayed in the juvenile system.

Contact a Juvenile Defense Attorney Today

As with any criminal proceeding, the outcome of a juvenile case depends in large part on the abilities of your Houston criminal defense lawyer. It also depends on how quickly you retain the services of your legal team. At The Law Offices of Ned Barnett, we are ready to help your child if they’ve been accused of criminal behavior. Contact us today at (713) 222-6767 to schedule a free case consultation.