The juvenile justice system is one place where Texas parents never hope to have to go. When your child gets into trouble, your natural inclination is to help them. This isn’t always easy when they are facing the juvenile court system.

For several reasons, this system is often hard for parents and children to navigate. The child has to make their own decisions. Parents often have a difficult time with this part of the process.

Your child’s rights are important

Just as an adult has rights in the criminal justice system, juveniles have them in this court system. One of the primary differences is that minors in this system aren’t able to have a trial before their peers or a jury. Instead, the judge handles all aspects of the case, but they work in conjunction with other professionals who inform them of services to benefit the child.

The judge considers the needs of the child

The judge has to think about what the child needs, but this has to be balanced with what will help society. A juvenile who is considered a threat to the public will likely be placed in juvenile detention to protect others. However, this is usually a last resort. For the most part, the juvenile justice system trends toward trying to help the child get treatment and rehabilitation to lead productive lives. This was clarified in 1995 with the creation of the Juvenile Justice Code as part of Title 3 of the Family Code.

Decisions can have big impacts

Throughout the juvenile justice process, the kids have decisions to make. They can’t rely on their parents or other adults to make them. For example, the juvenile will have to determine how they plan to plead to matters before the court.

These decisions put a lot of pressure on the children because they can significantly impact their futures. This is why it is imperative that juveniles have someone to explain the possible consequences or results of each option. They must understand the seriousness of these matters.