When a Texas juvenile becomes involved in a criminal case, there are specific rules in place that protect the juvenile while they’re going through the criminal court process. A juvenile is someone at least 10 years of age and under the age of 17. In Texas, once a person turns 17, they may be legally considered an adult by the court.
How does the criminal justice system look at juveniles?
Because they’re not adults, juveniles need to have special rules in place to protect their rights. The juvenile system exists not only to protect the public from material loss or violence from juvenile offenders, but it also exists to help rehabilitate young people. The court system provides justice, but it also provides an opportunity for rehabilitation for many juvenile offenders. The thinking is that a person has the opportunity to change when they’re still young.
What rights do juveniles have when they’re arrested?
A juvenile gets taken into custody if there is a reason to believe that the juvenile violated criminal law, violated probation or engaged in some sort of conduct that calls for supervision. Once they’re in custody, the authorities must deliver them without unnecessary delay to a processing office that handles juveniles.
The detention center must immediately let the guardian know that their child is in custody. A court must hold a detention hearing within 48 hours so that it can determine whether the juvenile must stay in detention or be released until their next court appearance. If the court makes the decision to detain the juvenile, it needs to hold a detention hearing every 10 days to determine whether or not the juvenile should continue to stay in detention. If the court can’t find the juvenile’s parent or guardian, the court needs to appoint a guardian ad litem for the detention hearing. All juveniles also have a right to counsel at their detention hearings.
Who can people turn to for help with handling criminal law issues for juveniles?
Laws are in place to protect juveniles. People who need help with juvenile criminal cases may benefit by working with attorneys who have experience with this area of law.