The Juvenile Justice System in Texas

In Texas and across the US, there is a justice system that deals with juvenile offenses. When a juvenile engages in conduct that is delinquent, or commits a CINS violation, he or she can be sent to juvenile court. The juvenile court has a number of options to deal with situation.

If a juvenile is charged by the county with delinquent conduct, he or she is granted the same rights as an adult that is charged with a similar crime. On occasion, the county may ask that a juvenile be charged as an adult. When a juvenile is charged as an adult, that juvenile is no longer under the jurisdiction of the juvenile justice system, and the rules of juvenile court do not apply.

Under Texas Juvenile Law, a youth that is charged with delinquent conduct faces several possible outcomes. The individual may be put on probation, he or she may go to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) with a sentence that is indeterminate, or that juvenile may be sent to the TJJD with a determinate sentence. It should be noted that indeterminate sentences are for felony offenses, and determinate sentences are for other offenses.

Juveniles that go on probation, and who are not sent to the TJJD, must be released from that probation prior to turning 18 years old. If a juvenile is charged with an indeterminate sentence and sent to TJJD, the juvenile must be discharged before turning 19 years old. When a juvenile is charged with a determinate sentence, and the juvenile goes to TJJD, he or she may be sent to adult prison at age 16.

Juvenile crimes can result in serious punishment and years in prison. It is important to have a juvenile law attorney to help ensure the best possible outcome.