Juvenile law encompasses all criminal matters involving minors. The standards for juvenile matters are completely different compared to adult cases, combining criminal law and civil procedure and often concluding with court-ordered probation. Take a look at what you can expect when your child receives court-ordered probation.
A youth lands in juvenile court if they’re arrested for a criminal offense on or after their 10th birthday and up to the age of 17. The charges can range from misdemeanors to capital murder. Texas’ Penal Code contains unique procedures for arrest, hearings and dispositions for juveniles, including probation sentencing.
For many cases, judges give juveniles a determinate probation period. That’s a finite sentence. An indeterminate sentence can have varying periods, which are often based on early release and how much time remains on the juvenile’s sentence. For example, a determinate sentence might include a one-year probation while an indeterminate sentence assigns probation for one to three years. Depending on the conditions, juvenile probation can require any of the following:
- Good behavior
- School attendance and participation in activities
- Successful completion of all school projects
- A job
- Community service
- Adherence to a curfew
Juvenile law requires the youth, with the supervision of their guardians, to adhere to probation conditions. The consequences of violating probation entail placement in a juvenile detention center or extension of the probationary period.
Due to the age of the defendant, the juvenile and their guardians will attend a probationary hearing. The juvenile has the right to counsel, and it’s recommended they have it.
Juvenile law is far more than a typical “defendant” in a criminal matter. The defense has to consider a completely different set of approaches and remember that the purpose is to seek rehabilitation, keep the family together and protect the public.