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Consequences of Adjudication

An adjudication hearing for juveniles is essentially the equivalent of a criminal trial for adults. If a court or a jury finds that an alleged juvenile offender engaged in delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision (CINS), then this is similar to a conviction in adult criminal court.

Just because adjudication is not a formal adult conviction does not mean that it does not carry some significant consequences. In fact, adjudication can cause a number of both immediate and long-term complications for an alleged juvenile offender.

Consequences of Dallas Sex Offense Adjudication

Is your child facing any sort of criminal charges in Texas for an alleged sex offense? You should immediately seek the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney.

Stuckle & Associates PLLC helps alleged juvenile offenders from all over the greater Dallas area, including Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano, and Garland as well as many other communities throughout the Lone Star State. Paul Stuckle can review your case when you call (972) 423-4405 or send our firm an online message.

Texas Juvenile Adjudication Information Center

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Possible Juvenile Adjudication Dispositions

When an alleged juvenile offender is adjudicated for engaging in delinquent conduct or CINS, he or she may face one of the following disposition outcomes:

  • Probation — Juveniles placed on probation are not sent to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) and are discharged from probation by the time they turn 18 years of age.
  • Indeterminate TJJD Sentence — Juveniles sent to TJJD with indeterminate sentences are not given specific amount of time in their sentences. TJJD will determine the minimum length of stay before the juvenile goes on parole, with minimums usually lasting between nine months and 24 months, depending on the severity of the alleged crime and the risk that the juvenile poses to the public. In these cases, an alleged juvenile offender may remain in custody until he or she turns 19 years of age.
  • Determinate TJJD Sentence — Juveniles sent to TJJD with determinate sentences have a specific amount of time that must be served, possibly up to as much as 40 years. Depending on the progress that is made in a juvenile’s treatment at TTJD, he or she may either be transferred to an adult prison or serve the balance of his or her court-mandated sentence on adult parole.

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Juvenile Adjudication Consequences

It is important to understand that the possible penalties for a juvenile who is adjudicated for engaging in delinquent conduct or CINS are not limited to just the terms of the sentence imposed by a juvenile court. There are several additional long-term consequences that can cause a lifetime of difficulties for adjudicated juveniles.

Some of the collateral consequences can affect the following aspects of an alleged juvenile offender’s life:

  • Driver’s License — Under Texas Family Code § 54.042, a child adjudicated in juvenile court may have his or her license suspended for up to 365 days or be denied the issuance of a driver’s license or permit if he or she does not have one.
  • Education — An adjudication can be reported to a school and could possibly lead to a student being suspended or possibly even expelled.
  • Employment — While adjudication is not an adult conviction, the record of the offense will still be visible on background checks and can create significant long-term problems when juveniles apply for jobs.
  • Firearm Rights — Adjudication may pose several problems later one for those people seeking concealed handgun licenses.
  • Future Criminal Convictions — An adjudication for delinquent conduct or CINS can be used against a person later on if he or she is charged with a separate criminal offense. The adjudication may trigger enhanced penalties in certain cases.
  • Immigration Status — While it is not technically a criminal conviction, adjudication may still have negative consequences for juveniles who are seeking legal immigrant status.
  • Public Benefits — When a juvenile is adjudicated, it could potentially cause their entire family to lose public housing or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or “food stamps”) benefits.
  • Sex Offender —Adjudicated juvenile offenders may still be required to register for sex offenders for 10 years or possible even life.

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Deferred Adjudication for Juvenile Offenders

In many cases, a prosecutor may offer an alleged juvenile offender a type of probation called “deferred adjudication” in exchange for a guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) plea. Under this type of agreement, the state postpones any final finding of guilt so long as the juvenile satisfies all of the court's sanctions and guidelines.

Juveniles who accept these agreements believe that successfully completing all court requirements will result in their cases being dismissed with no record of guilt or conviction. However, the case remains on the juvenile’s criminal record and proposes many of the same problems listed above.

Records of arrests are no automatically sealed after a juvenile completes deferred adjudication. Instead, these offenders have to file Orders of Non-Disclosure after their deferred adjudications are discharged. While such orders may be filed immediately after discharge for misdemeanor offenses, felony offenders must wait five years before filing such orders.

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Find a Dallas Lawyer for Avoiding Sex Offense Adjudication

If your child is facing any type of criminal sex offense in Texas, it is critical that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney before you accept any type of deal being offered by a prosecutor. Paul Stuckle puts the best interests of his clients first and works hard to get charges reduced or dismisses.

Stuckle & Associates PLLC serves the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but our firm represents clients all over the Lone Star State from Houston to San Antonio to Austin and many other communities. Call (972) 423-4405 or send us an online message to have your case reviewed during a free legal consultation.