What Happens When Children are Accused of Sex Crimes?Published: Mar 08, 2018 in Sex Crimes
If your son or daughter has been accused of committing a sex offense in Texas, you need to call an attorney experienced with juvenile cases right away. Whether the offense is typically a misdemeanor or felony, you must take it seriously. Your child will need legal protection and guidance throughout this process. The outcome of this situation may significantly impact your family and your child’s future.
If your child is facing charges for a sexual offense in Texas, contact a Houston sex crimes lawyer from The Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767 to schedule a free and confidential case consultation.
What Happens When Your Child is Accused of a Sex Crime
Attorney Ned Barnett will help your child throughout this experience, which may include:
If your child is accused of a sex offense, the police will arrest and take them into custody. Your child will be questioned, and they should have an attorney by their side as soon as possible. A sex crimes lawyer will ensure that your child does not accidentally incriminate themselves. Without an attorney present to protect your child, the police may pressure them into confessing to something they did not do. What happens next depends on the situation. Your child may be released to you or another adult, sent to a foster home, or taken to a youth detention facility.
Child Protective Services (CPS) May Be Called
When a minor is accused of a sex crime, particularly against another child, CPS may be called. A case worker will review the situation to determine if your child should be returned home, or whether another environment is more appropriate. This is a significant question when an adolescent is accused of a sexual offense against another minor in the same home.
If your child is deemed to be a flight risk, a danger to the public, or without appropriate supervision, then they will be detained at a youth facility. The detainment may not last throughout the entire legal process. There must be juvenile detainment hearings at specific intervals, during which time a judge determines if continued detainment is appropriate or whether the minor should be released to you, another guardian, or another facility. The juvenile courts do not use bail. You cannot secure your child’s release based on a sum of money.
Transfer to Adult Court
In certain circumstances, your child’s case must be sent to the adult court system. In other situations, prosecutors have discretion in keeping your child’s case in the juvenile system or transferring it to the adult courts. The older your child is and the more serious the alleged offense, it is more likely that your son or daughter will be charged in adult court. For instance, a 16-year-old accused of rape is more likely to be charged as an adult than a 14-year-old accused of indecent exposure.
Adjudication or Trial
If your child’s case remains in the juvenile system, they must defend themselves at an adjudication hearing, during which a judge will decide whether they committed delinquent conduct or not. If your child is sent to an adult court, they must defend themselves at trial where a jury will determine if they are innocent or guilty. In both juvenile and adult court, your child can also discuss plea agreements with their attorney.
If your child is found to have committed a sexual offense, they face significant penalties in either the juvenile or adult court system. In juvenile court, there will be a disposition hearing. Juvenile proceedings focus on rehabilitation and ensuring your child receives the treatment they need, though it may also include detainment. Also, your child may be required to register as a sex offender. The term depends on the situation and specific crime that your child is accused of committing.
In the adult system, there will be a sentencing hearing. These hearings focus on imprisonment.
A Sex Crimes Lawyer Can Help
If your adolescent son or daughter has been accused of committing a sex crime, the best thing you can do for them is to call an experienced and aggressive defense attorney. Every step of the legal process matters. Houston sex crimes lawyer Ned Barnett will fight every step of the way for the best possible outcome for your child.