What to Do If Your Minor Child is Arrested in Texas

The mother of “affluenza” teen Ethan Couch, who received probation for killing four people while driving drunk, made the grave error of trying to help her son escape more trouble for violating his probation by driving him to Mexico.  Now she is facing criminal charges and he is also on the hook for possible jail time.

While many parents of minors arrested for a crime in Texas may understand that mother’s actions on some level, breaking the law yourself is no way to help your child.  The best way to protect your child is to call an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney immediately.  An attorney will be able to guide you through the juvenile justice system so that you can focus on providing the emotional support your child needs to deal with a criminal charge.

Depending on the nature of the crime, your child may be arrested or taken into the juvenile probation department.  During intake, officers will evaluate your child, his or her home situation and the crime he or she is accused of committing.  At that point, they will determine whether the case needs to be referred to the juvenile court or if it can be resolved more informally.

While the preference is usually to send a minor child home with their parents, there are several factors that could lead to your child being detained, including if:

  • There is no adequate supervision at home
  • The child is likely to leave to avoid court action
  • There is no one who can ensure the child will return to court
  • The child is a danger to the public or himself
  • The child has a criminal history that leads probation officers to believe he or she may commit more crimes if they are released

If the decision is made to detain a child, a detention hearing must be held before a judge within 48 hours.  Further detention hearings are scheduled at least every two weeks to gauge whether detainment is still be best option.

The best outcome parents can hope for is a warning, where no other action is required.  Other options that can keep your child out of the juvenile court system include deferred prosecution or counseling.

If it is determined that a court must intervene, there are other options that will hopefully lessen the impact on your child’s future.  Having an attorney with experience in the Texas juvenile court system will typically provide a more positive outcome for your child’s case.

The Cogdell Law Firm is a boutique law firm focusing on large, complex business and criminal financial-related litigation, including white collar criminal defense, securities fraud, health care fraud investigation, criminal appeals and state criminal defense.  When results matter most, contact Dan Cogdell at (713) 426-2244 or dan@cogdell-law.com.