The Texas court system permits what is known as indeterminate sentencing in some cases for minors who are deemed to be juvenile offenders. This includes certain juvenile drug cases. In order to become generally familiar with the mechanics of the Texas juvenile justice system, knowing about indeterminate sentencing is useful.
General jurisdiction for the juvenile justice system
The Texas juvenile justice system generally has jurisdiction over a minor until he or she reaches the age of 18. What this means is that a minor is subject to being adjudicated in juvenile court until that individual is no longer a minor. Moreover, minors can only remain committed until they turn 18 years of age. This includes being committed to some type of juvenile detention facility.
Basic definition of an indeterminate sentence in the Texas juvenile system
If a minor is committed to an indeterminate term, that youth can be held in the custody of the Texas Juvenile Justice Division until he or she reaches the age of 19. This includes juvenile drug cases. With that said, pursuant to Texas law, a youth may be able to qualify for an early release or discharge.
When a youth is admitted into the juvenile justice system, that minor is provided with a minimum length of stay. If the young person satisfies the requirements set forth at the time of the commitment before the ultimate termination date, he or she may qualify for an early release of discharge.
A youth is not “found guilty or a crime” in the Texas juvenile justice system. Rather, a minor in the juvenile justice system is adjudicated an offender.