How young can someone be incarcerated?

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2022 | Criminal Law |

The realm of juvenile law combines criminal law and civil procedures. Handling a juvenile case can be unfamiliar in terms of terminology and juvenile sentencing, so if you’re a Texas resident, here are some things to know about juvenile law.

Who is considered a juvenile?

In the state of Texas, an individual can be charged in juvenile court for crimes committed on or after the individual’s 10th birthday. These crimes can range from class C misdemeanors to capital murder. Individuals who are at least 10 years of age and younger than 17 can be charged as juveniles. Juvenile law in Texas indicates that once a person turns 17, they are classified as an adult and will be charged as such. State legislators have discussed changing the age that people can be charged as an adult from 17 to 18.

Arrest and detention

Juvenile law requires that children be arrested differently than adults. A police officer may take a child into custody if there is legitimate cause to believe that the child committed a crime or was engaged in delinquent acts. The office can also take the juvenile in if the child is in need of supervision or violated court-ordered probation.

According to Family Code 51.03(a), delinquent conduct is described as behavior, excluding traffic offenses, that violates a federal or state law and is punishable by jail or prison time. Section 51.03(b) states that conduct indicating the necessity for supervision includes committed misdemeanors that are punishable by paying a fine. Officers are also permitted to take a child into custody if the child has voluntarily left home without the permission of their parents.

The state of Texas imposes different laws and penalties depending on a defendant’s age. It’s important for arrested juveniles and their families to understand these differences.