What to do if I got a letter today for a crime that I committed when I was 14 and I’m 17 now?

Now I have to appear to court but I don’t see why if I already paid my fine.

Asked on January 30, 2013 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

There may be some other issues still lingering with your juvenile case or it could be a new case that you didn't realize you had (that could be somewhat related to your juvie case). 

The lingering issues could be that you have paid your fine, but not your court costs.  Often, the parents are supposed to pay these, but forget to do so which can prevent a case from being closed out.

If the case was a serious case, they could have tried to certify you as an adult and for some reason are just now getting it back on the docket. 

This is just a sampling of what you could be looking at.  If you can afford an attorney, that would be the best course of action.  If you can't afford full representation right now, see if one will take $50-100 to make some phone calls for you to find out what is going on with your case or cases.  I know this seems silly to have someone make calls for you... but it also protects your interest.  If you go on your own or make calls on your own, a juvie probation officer, prosecutor, or court official may ask you a question and when you respond, the answer could be used against you later.  If you simply cannot afford an attorney, attend the hearing and ask for a court appointed attorney.  If the judges asks you if you would like to talk to the prosecutor, politely decline and  say "Your honor, I would prefer to have counsel before I say anything to the prosecutor."  Once you have requested an attorney, stick to your right to remain silent until you do have one.


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