My client, a kind 15-year-old boy, was investigated by school police for an incident on campus. My client was alleged to have engaged in a verbal altercation with another student, which escalated to my client allegedly striking and hitting the other child multiple times with closed fists. Police claimed that surveillance camera footage at the school corroborated the victim’s version of events.
My client was referred to the juvenile court for a misdemeanor assault charge. The District Attorney filed an Original Petition Alleging Delinquent Conduct against my client to seek a formal adjudication against the child.
I worked closely with the child, family, and the pretrial juvenile probation officer to improve my client’s chances of success in the system. By sharing a reasonable alternative explanation for the child’s behavior and working with the family to make sure the child was successful during the pretrial phase of the case, I was able to position the client for success.
Ultimately, I filed a motion for a “deferred prosecution unit” – a specific term-of-art, which is the juvenile equivalent of supervised pretrial diversion. After securing consent from the District Attorney, and making my argument to the court, the Judge granted my motion and the child’s case was ultimately dismissed.
Deadly Conduct and Aggravated Assault – Threat with Deadly Weapon
My client, a 16-year-old boy, was alleged to have committed a variety of offenses, including third degree felony deadly conduct, and second degree felony aggravated assault by threat with a deadly weapon.
Police sought and acquired a warrant for my client after receiving myriad videos allegedly showing my client with a handgun at a school fight. The fight involved more than a dozen individuals, with at least two people holding firearms. At least one person was shot and received medical treatment for non-life threatening injuries.
My client was on juvenile probation at the time of the offense. I was able to negotiate an agreed modification of his probation that kept him in Austin and outside of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. I resolved his new charges without any new formal disposition or punishment, other than the modification to his existing probation.
Possession of a Controlled Substance
My client was a soft-spoken, introverted young man. Police at his school received reports that he was attempting to sell a small amount of ecstasy to another student. My client denied the allegations against him and refused to cooperate with the police investigation.
After preliminary testing determined the substance to be ecstasy, the police referred the matter to the local District Attorney. The District Attorney brought a felony drug charge against my client.
I negotiated for the case to be dismissed after a period of successful pretrial supervision.
Sexual Assault and Prohibited Sexual Contact
The most challenging cases in juvenile court involve crimes of violence and offenses involving sexual behavior. In this instance, my client received two charges (Sexual Assault and Prohibited Sexual Contact) for allegedly engaging in nonconsensual intercourse with his older step-sister.
My client’s older step-sister outcried to her step-mother, who discussed the matter with her therapist, who then reported the alleged incident to Child Protective Services. An investigation by CPS ultimately resulted in charges being filed against my client in juvenile court.
Initially the District Attorney sought an adjudication (the juvenile version of a conviction) of my client for both Sexual Assault and Prohibited Sexual Contact (the Texas anti-incest law). Taking into consideration my client’s background, prior trauma, and therapy, I was able to negotiate for both charges to be dismissed or non-suited and for the child instead to receive a lesser charge of Attempted Prohibited Sexual Contact. Instead of placement at a juvenile justice facility, the child was granted probation with behavioral treatment and no sex offender registration.
Juvenile sexual offense cases are complex and emotionally difficult. Usually they involve related children and frequently involve blended families. These are sensitive and challenging cases that require familiarity with the unique statutes and laws that apply in serious juvenile cases.