In Texas, juveniles are defined as minors, older than 10 years of age and younger than 17 years of age. Juveniles are treated differently than adult offenders and the general goal of the juvenile justice system is rehabilitation as opposed to punishment.
In rare circumstances, the juvenile court will hold a transfer hearing. This is a hearing in which it will be determined whether to transfer the juvenile to the adult court system. The court will base the decision on several factors, such as
- The seriousness of the offense;
- The child’s criminal record;
- Previous attempts to rehabilitate the juvenile; and
- The court’s belief that future attempts at rehabilitation will be unsuccessful.
Courts determine wither the child has engaged in conduct indicating a need for supervision. According to the Texas Family Code, delinquent conduct is defined as:
- Conduct, other than a traffic offense, that violates a penal law of Texas or the United States punishable by imprisonment or by confinement in jail;
- Conduct that violates a lawful order of a municipal court or justice court under circumstances that would constitute contempt of court;
- Conduct that constitutes Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), Flying While Intoxicated, Boating While Intoxicated, Intoxication Assault, Intoxication Manslaughter, and Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by a minor.
Conduct indicating a need for supervision includes:
Conduct, other than a traffic offense, that violates the penal laws of Texas of the grade of misdemeanor that are punishable by a fine only (class c-misdemeanors); the penal ordinances of any political subdivision of Texas; the absence of a child on 10 or more days or parts of days within a 6 month period in the same school year or on 3 or more days or parts of days within a 4 week period from school; the voluntary absence of a child from the child’s home without the consent of the child’s parents or guardian for a substantial length of time or without intent to return; conduct prohibited by city ordinance or by state law involving the inhalation of the fumes or vapors of paint; or an act that violates a school district’s previously communicated written standards of student conduct for which the child has been expelled under Section 37.007(c), Texas Education Code.
If a child is not released from the juvenile detention center, the court will hold a detention hearing. Detention hearings shall be held promptly, but not later than the second working day after the child is taken into custody. If the child is detained on a Friday or Saturday, then the detention hearing shall be held on the first working day after the child is taken into custody. At the detention hearing, the judge will decide whether to release the child to a parent or guardian or remand the child to the juvenile detention center. If the judge determines the child should be detained, the detention order extends for no more than 10 working days. Further detention orders may be made following subsequent detention hearings.
Juvenile law is a complicated area of the law. Should you find yourself needing representation in a juvenile law matter, contact attorney Tesa Jackson – Michael. She will assist you from the initial process through final outcome of the case.
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