BOARD CERTIFIED HOUSTON JUVENILE LAWYER JAMES SULLIVAN


Harris County Juvenile Defense

IMG_2906BHouston Juvenile Attorney James (Jim) Sullivan is Board Certified in Juvenile Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  Note: Among the more than 83,000 active lawyers in Texas, there are only 38 lawyers Board Certified in Juvenile Law in private practice.  Sullivan handles all juvenile offenses in the juvenile courts in the counties of Harris, Fort Bend, Montgomery, Waller, Brazoria, Liberty and throughout southeast Texas.
Juvenile law is not criminal law.  There are fundamental differences between these two areas of law.  Many criminal defense attorneys are not aware of these differences nor aware of the significant ongoing changes in juvenile law enacted by the Texas legislature.  The proper representation of juveniles is a complex and multi-disciplinary practice that requires knowledge of both civil and criminal law.  A juvenile law attorney at minimum must have a thorough understanding of the relevant interacting Texas law, including
  • the Juvenile Justice Code,
  • the Penal Code,
  • the Family Code,
  • the Code of Criminal Procedure,
  • the Rules of Evidence,
  • the Controlled Substances Act, and
  • the Rules of Appellate Procedure.
The attorney must also understand other issues such as the psychosocial and psychological development of adolescents.  For a successful juvenile defense, all of these factors, including the facts of the case, must be thoroughly evaluated.
Historically, juvenile law focused on rehabilitation of the youth.  However, it is now an area which also looks toward punishment and, as a result, juvenile records and adjudications can affect your child for years to come.  Indeed, for the most serious offenses, a child could be made to stand trial as an adult, and if found guilty could have a criminal conviction that could follow him the rest of his life.  For sex offenses, juveniles can be made to register as a sex offender until age 28.  Even a misdemeanor offense could affect his future education and employment.
Deferred prosecution (pretrial diversion) may be an option for some.  It is a contractual agreement with the prosecutor that can enable a juvenile to avoid an adjudication (conviction) on his juvenile record.  If a juvenile fulfills the requirements of a six month deferred prosecution, then the prosecutor will non-suit (dismiss) the case, and the juvenile then has the immediate right to petition the court to seal his records.  Per rules of the District Attorney, the juvenile court prosecutors cannot agree to such a resolution for many misdemeanor cases and all felony cases.  Even though the prosecutor is opposed to deferred prosecution in many cases, Jim Sullivan is effective in persuading courts to grant deferred prosecution anyway.
Texas law requires all juveniles in juvenile court to be represented by an attorney.  Great care should be taken in selecting an attorney who can effectively represent your child in juvenile court.  Even seemingly simple cases can involve complex legal issues that could  become a nightmare for parents with a less knowledgeable or inexperienced attorney.
It is natural that teenagers go through a period of rebellion as they make their way through adolescence, and of course some teens rebel more than others.  However, if your child is on probation, it is very important that he follow the rules.  If he breaks the rules, he may be removed from his home and placed in a juvenile facility such as at the Burnett Bayland Reception Center (usually up to three months), juvenile boot camp (four to six months), youth village (usually up to three months) or for felony cases commitment to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (formerly known as the Texas Youth Commission) up to the age of 19. Obviously, each case is different and must be evaluated on an individual basis.

Many parents have the opinion that their child got himself in trouble despite their best efforts and therefore they are not willing to spend any money on a defense attorney, or worse they encourage their child to talk with the police without first consulting an attorney.  These approaches, however, have lead to many heartbreaking realizations later on.  Your child is a blessing.  Decisions made during these difficult years of his adolescence are critical to his future well being.  Your child needs  an attorney who not only can relate to and counsel him but also who specializes in juvenile law and can effectively represent him.  Be proactive and make your decision on retaining an attorney wisely.

NTLA-roundContact Attorney James Sullivan

Houston Juvenile Defense Attorney James Sullivan is very passionate about defending, counseling and inspiring his juvenile clients to get on the right path, to stay in school and to plan for the future.  Sullivan wants all of his clients to have a successful future, just as all parents want their children to do better than they did.  Sullivan strives to keep his clients at home and to keep their record clear, although he realizes that some are so out of control that for their own safety they need to be placed in a secure facility or residential drug treatment center.  Many teens need the adversity and discipline of an out of home placement such as at boot camp to learn to accept responsibility for their actions, to stop blaming others for their behavior and to build character.
James Sullivan also attended the Trial Lawyers College founded by Legendary lawyer Gerry Spence and was invited to join The National Trial Lawyers organization. Sullivan has a proven record of defending people from all walks of life, faiths and countries in courts throughout Texas.
Whether your child is charged with a felony or a misdemeanor, Houston Juvenile Attorney James Sullivan can provide effective representation and advice.  Don’t let one mistake ruin your child’s future. To schedule a consultation, contact Sullivan at (281) 546-6428.

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