Houston Juvenile Sex Crime Defense
As parents, we know that children are naturally curious about their sexuality. In these modern times, children are reaching the onset of puberty at a younger and younger age (girls as young as nine and boys as young as ten). Their curiosity leads to natural experimentation. Unfortunately, such experimentation sometimes conflicts with state laws, and children as young as ten can be arrested and charged with serious felony offenses such as aggravated sexual assault of a child, sexual assault or indecency with a child.
Juvenile sex crimes, of course, can stem from other reasons. Children can be influenced to act out when they have been exposed to pornography or live sex. They will mimic the sexual behavior they have seen. And, of course, children who have been sexually abused will act out on those behaviors–sometimes years later. In such cases, it is very common that the child was abused at a young age by an older cousin, a babysitter, a coach or other such person close to the child. This prior abuse does not excuse the child’s actions, but it is definitely mitigating. Without counseling and intervention, the child is likely to re-offend. If the child later re-offends as an adult, he could face a life sentence in prison.
Angleton, Texas Juvenile Sex Crime Attorney Jim Sullivan can help you and your child get through this difficult ordeal with dignity, empathy and compassion. He is sensitive to the emotional and psychological needs of children. He has represented a number of juvenile boys and girls who themselves had been victimized at a young age and had not reported it to their parents or to the authorities. In fact, it was only through his sensitive, patient and thought-provoking conversation with the child that he was able to draw out the prior abuse.
Attorney Jim Sullivan will work hard to persuade the State to non-suit (dismiss) your child’s case, to obtain an acquittal (not guilty) at trial or as a last result to negotiate a reasonable plea bargain. From the outset, he will work to have your child released from the detention center and then work toward keeping him or her at home and from having to register as a sex offender. In fact, not one of his juvenile clients has had to register as a sex offender. Such registration can be devastating to a child’s development and to his or her future.
Texas Juvenile Sex Crime Attorney Jim Sullivan is an expert in the field of juvenile law and has successfully represented juveniles charged with sex offenses and other felony and misdemeanor offenses in Houston and throughout southeast Texas (see Case Results below). He has a proven track record in juvenile sex offense representation and is truly concerned about the many juveniles who do not have competent legal representation.
POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF JUVENILE SEX OFFENSES:
DISCRETIONARY TRANSFER TO CRIMINAL COURT
An aggravated sexual assault of a child offense is a first degree felony. If the juvenile is 14 years of age or older at the time of the alleged offense, the State can seek to have the juvenile transferred to criminal court and stand trial as an adult. In adult court, the range of punishment is from five years to life in prison.Indecency with a child can be either a second or third degree felony. If the juvenile is 15 years of age or older at the time of the alleged offense, the State can seek to have the juvenile transferred to criminal court and stand trial as an adult. In adult court, the range of punishment is from 2 years to 10 or 20 years in prison.
Instead of a transfer to criminal court, the State can also seek a determinate sentence for a juvenile aged 10 or older for a juvenile felony sex offense. If this were to happen, a juvenile could never seal (expunge) his juvenile record. He could be placed on probation for up to 10 years with automatic transfer to adult probation at age 18. He could also be sent to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department for up to 40 years for a first degree felony, up to 20 years for a second degree felony and up to 10 years for a third degree felony. If sent to TJJD and to be eligible for parole, he first has to stay a minimum of 3 calendar years for a first degree felony, 2 calendar years for a second degree felony and 1 calendar year for a third degree felony. If the juvenile does not parole out by age 19, then he is automatically transferred to adult prison, although depending on his behavior he could be transferred as early as age 16.
Instead of the severe consequences of a transfer to adult court or determinate sentence, the State can proceed with an indeterminate sentence. In such a case, the juvenile could petition the court to seal his record at age 19 so long as he is not currently having to register as a sex offender. Also, the juvenile could receive probation until age 18. As a condition of probation, he could be placed outside his home for sex offender counseling and treatment. He could also be sent to TJJD where he could be held until age 19. In most of his negotiated cases, Jim Sullivan has been able to reach an agreement with the State wherein his client receives an indeterminate sentence probation at home for two years, which is the minimum statutory required length of probation for a felony sex offense.
The Judge can also order the juvenile to register as a sex offender until age 28. The defense attorney may be able to persuade the State to agree to defer registration, i.e. the Judge will make the decision regarding sex offender registration after the juvenile completes his or her sex offender counseling. Jim Sullivan has been successful in his cases to either defer the registration decision or to not require the juvenile to register at all.
CASE RESULTS - JUVENILE SEX OFFENSES
The case histories below represent a few of the many juveniles charged with sex offenses that Jim Sullivan has represented. All cases were in Harris county (Houston), except where noted. Past results are not a guarantee of a similar result in any future case.
Won a dismissal for a 15 year old boy accused of having consensual sex with a 12 year old girl in her bedroom while two teenage friends allegedly listened in the adjoining room. The boy could then petition to have his juvenile record sealed immediately.
RESULT: NON-SUITED (DISMISSED)
Won a dismissal one month before trial for a 16 year old boy accused of forcibly raping a 17 year old girl at her home. Prior to the dismissal, the State sought a determinate sentence which could have resulted in incarceration for up to 20 years and could have required the boy to register as a sex offender until the age of 28. The boy could then petition to have his juvenile record sealed immediately.
RESULT: NON-SUITED (DISMISSED) after Case was set for a Jury Trial
INDECENCY WITH A CHILD
Won a dismissal for a 13 year old boy accused of fondling a 12 year old girl against her will at school. Prior to the dismissal, the State offered a year of probation at home, however the boy would have had to wait until he was 21 in order to seal his record. The boy could then petition to have his record sealed immediately.
RESULT: NON-SUITED (DISMISSED)
AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD
Secured reduction to a misdemeanor assault for a 16 year old boy charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child involving his six year old half sister. On the day of trial, Sullivan persuaded the State to reduce the charges from a Determinate Sex Offense Felony case to a misdemeanor non-sex offense assault and to allow his client to receive one year probation on a misdemeanor assault charge. Two years after his probation is over, the child can petition the court to seal his record.
RESULT: REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT on the Jury Trial setting
INDECENCY WITH A CHILD
Secured reduction to a misdemeanor for a 14 year old boy charged with indecency with a child. He and two other boys were accused of fondling a 13 year old girl at school against her will. Prior to trial, Sullivan persuaded the State to reduce the charges from a Determinate Sex Offense Felony to a misdemeanor non-sex offense indecent exposure and allowed his client to receive probation at home. Two years after his probation is over, the child can petition the court to seal his record.
RESULT: REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR INDECENT EXPOSURE after case was set for a Jury Trial
INDECENCY WITH A CHILD
Secured reduction to a misdemeanor for a 15 year old boy charged with indecency with a child. He allegedly forced a six year girl who was visiting his family to fondle him in his bedroom. In this case, the boy’s pastor gave a statement to police, alleging that the boy admitted that he allowed the girl to touch him. The boy absolutely denied that and stated that the girl tried to touch him and he told her not to. Sullivan arranged a polygraph examination of the boy and the boy passed. The State still refused to dismiss the case. On the tenth jury trial setting close to his 18th birthday, Sullivan persuaded the State to reduce the charge from a Determinate Sex Offense Felony to a misdemeanor non-sex offense assault and allowed his client to receive two months probation at home. (Note: Unbeknownst to Sullivan, the elected judge of this juvenile court did not like presiding over jury trials and, because the State sought a determinate sentence, only the elected judge could hear the case at trial. Even after filing a motion for speedy trial on the second trial setting, the judge continued to reset the trial case with one excuse after another and refused to grant a preferential trial setting. Fortunately, this judge is no longer on the bench). By the tenth trial setting, some two and one-half years after the case first started, the State ultimately reduced the case from a Determinate Sex Offense Felony to a misdemeanor non-sex offense assault. His client subsequently enrolled in college. Two years after his probation is over, the child can petition the court to seal his record.
RESULT: REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT with probation at home after case was set for a Jury Trial
INDECENCY WITH A CHILD
Secured reduction to a misdemeanor for a 14 year old boy accused of fondling a 7 year old boy outside in their apartment complex. On the day of trial, Jim Sullivan persuaded the State to reduce the charges from a serious felony to a misdemeanor and to allow his client to receive one year probation at home. Two years after his probation is over, the child can petition the court to seal his record.
RESULT: REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR PUBLIC LEWDNESS
HOUSTON CRIMINAL LAWYERS
Serving clients throughout Texas, including Houston, Galveston, Angleton, Pearland, Alvin, Sugar Land, Bellville, Clear Lake, Conroe, Pasadena, La Porte, Missouri City, Texas City, Friendswood, Richmond, Rosenberg, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, San Antonio, Laredo, El Paso, El Campo, Austin, San Marcos, Dallas, Denton, Plano, Lubbock, Midland, Anahuac, Beaumont, Hempstead, Huntsville, Liberty, The Woodlands, Humble, Tomball, League City, Bellaire, Deer Park, and Katy and other communities in Austin County, Brazoria County, Chambers County, Colorado County, Fort Bend County, Galveston County, Harris County, Jefferson County, Liberty County, Montgomery County, Waller County, Walker County and Wharton County.