The last thing you want is for a youthful mistake to follow your child for the rest of his or her life. This is a realistic concern for parents here in Texas, where punishments for juvenile crimes can be quite severe. A juvenile crime is an offense committed by a person who is not a legal adult. The state of Texas declares a juvenile to be someone who is 17 years of age or younger.
Even if a juvenile commits a serious crime, many experts and lawmakers believe that individuals younger than 17 do not yet possess the full ability to discern right from wrong. For this reason, different regulations come into play if a juvenile commits a crime than if an adult commits a similar offense.
Who commits juvenile crimes?
In Texas, an individual can receive a conviction in a juvenile court if the offense takes place after he or she turned 10 years old. A juvenile is capable of receiving the same charge as an adult, ranging from a class C misdemeanor all the way up to capital murder. Here are some general facts about juvenile offenses in Texas:
- Males are more likely to commit crimes than females.
- Males commit more underage crimes involving alcohol than females.
- Nearly 25% of juvenile offenses deal with the destruction of property, including vandalism and graffiti.
How does Texas handle juvenile cases?
A detention hearing will take place within two days of your teenager’s arrest. The judge will decide whether to immediately release your teen or detain him or her until the next hearing. The likelihood that detention will continue for your child increases if he or she has previous offenses.
Every 10 days, another hearing takes place to decide whether detention should continue. For release to take place, your teen must meet certain conditions. These conditions are similar to the requirements that adults must meet for probation.