What are the Juvenile Laws in Texas and how are Juvenile Cases handled in Collin County?
The age of the person arrested for a possible offense can determine how they are charged with a crime. In Texas, one can be charged as a juvenile if they are as young as 10 years old! They are a legal adult when they turn 17. SO generally, juvenile courts handle matters of children between 10-16 years old. However, there is no guarantee that they will not be charged as adults, even if they are below the age of 17. Some serious juvenile matters can be prosecuted in juvenile court as an ‘adult case’. These are called ‘D40’ petitions. The Grand Jury will ‘certify’ a case as a Determinate Sentence case and a juvenile can potentially be punished for up to 40 years!!! Also, some juveniles can be certified as an adult and their cases transferred to adult courts. Anyone charged with a crime, whether as an adult or juvenile, needs a criminal defense attorney to help them in the justice system.
Juvenile laws and procedures differ from those that adults may face. First, the procedure for arrest is different. The officer does not need to obtain an arrest warrant before taking the juvenile into custody. Instead, they just need to have probable cause to believe that the juvenile has broken the law or engaged in delinquent conduct. Depending on the charge, the child might be released to their parents by the police, they might be released upon being booked-in to the Juvenile Detention Center, or it might require a contested detention hearing to get your child released. There is no Bail or Bonds in the juvenile system.
Juvenile law is not lenient simply because those arrested are younger, and you should always seek help from a juvenile crime attorney in Collin County.
Charged as Juvenile
If a child is 15 years old or over, and they are charged with a felony, they may be charged as an adult. Or their case could be referred to the Grand Jury for a ‘D50’ charge. These are very serious matters and it is important to try and keep minors out of the adult system if at all possible.
If the arrested person ends up in the juvenile system, the court has far more discretion in the case. They could hold the juvenile in the system until trial, and there is no requirement for bail. They must notify the parent that they have custody of their child. The court must hold a detention hearing, but the magistrate has the authority to decide whether to keep custody. The court must hold hearings every ten days to decide whether to maintain custody.
Some Cases Could Transfer to the Adult System
While many convictions result in punishment that terminates at one’s 19th birthday, that is not always the case. Even if one is in the juvenile system, serious crimes could result in a determinate sentence. For certain felonies, the defendant could be transferred from the juvenile system to the adult system when they become an adult.
There are a wide variety of outcomes when someone under the age of 17 has been charged with a crime. Oftentimes, having a criminal defense lawyer can make the difference in the punishment and outcome of the case. The best legal outcome involves remaining in the juvenile system and being able to have a shot at a life that is free from the consequences of a youthful mistake, assuming that the person actually committed the crime. Otherwise, the juvenile can and should fight the charges against them.
Speak with a Collin County Juvenile Defense Lawyer
Call criminal defense attorney J. Michael Price at (214) 765-8000 or reach out online to schedule a free consultation. No defendant, no matter how old they are, should be left to face the criminal defense system on their own. Your family must know that they have an experienced attorney in your child’s corner.