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Understanding what happens when juveniles are arrested

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2022 | Criminal Law |

Texas courts have traditionally handled juvenile criminal cases differently from adult cases. Authorities understand that minors are not fully developed personally at a young age and often do things that violate the law unknowingly. While intent may be present, the actual consequences of what can happen may not be processed completely by the underage perpetrator. Younger defendants are considered capable of changing behavior as they age, but sometimes it takes some encouragement from the system to do so unless the matter is particularly violent.

Questioning juveniles

The process of questioning juveniles is very similar to that of adults, but there is one juvenile law exception. Law enforcement officials are allowed to deceive adult suspects when questioning them in hopes they will admit to a suspected crime. Juveniles are not questioned in this manner because it could easily teach them to not trust the authorities, which is a perception that all Texas law enforcement agencies would like to stop. Furthermore, intimidation is not a acceptable questioning practice as well.

Custody release and bond

Texas judges typically will release a juvenile to their parents in some situations when there is little possibility of a recurrence or danger to the community. One primary component of juvenile detention is that minors cannot be housed in adult jails unless they are separated totally from the adult inmate population. However, judges do have the juvenile law authority to impose bond on parents or guardians and order either “house detention” or place the defendant in a certified juvenile behavioral facility.

Texas courts also have the authority to designate certain juveniles as adults when they have committed egregious acts and are close to becoming 18 years of age. Those who are over 10 years old and under age 17 can be charged as a juvenile generally, but certain cases can result in adult trials for 17-year old defendants.