If you’re a parent in Texas, you worry about your kids – it comes with the territory. Will they do well in school? Will they get into an accident? Will they get pressured into sex? One thing a lot of parents may not worry enough about, though, is their adolescent or teen engaging in criminal activity.
Why? Because the consequences of juvenile crimes in our state can be quite severe, potentially altering the course of your child’s life.
Below, we’re going to detail general juvenile crime statistics and facts, and let you know what happens if your juvenile commits a crime here in the Lone Star State.
Who Commits Juvenile Crimes
Any individual between the ages of 10 and 17 can be charged with a juvenile crime in Texas. Juvenile crimes are at least a class C misdemeanor charge. Here are various facts about the types of juveniles who tend to commit crimes:
- Juvenile crimes are more likely to be committed by males than females.
- African-Americans are five times more likely to be charged with juvenile crimes than Caucasians, and twice as likely as Hispanics.
- Girls are more likely to be arrested for runaway than boys.
- Boys are more likely to commit underage drinking offenses than girls.
- Property crimes, like graffiti and vandalism, comprise about 25 percent of juvenile crimes.
- Boys commit 80 percent of violent juvenile crimes.
Risk factors for juvenile delinquency include things such as childhood abuse, poverty, parents who are criminals, substance abuse, association with delinquent peer groups, and childhood aggressive behavior. However, you should not assume that your adolescent or teen won’t commit a crime simply because these things are not part of their life… or even that none of them are present.
What Crimes Juveniles Commit
The most common types of juvenile crimes are listed below.
- Curfew violations
- School violations
- Disturbing the peace
- False reports
- False identification
- Simple assault
- Disorderly conduct
- Criminal trespass
- Traffic violations
- Reckless endangerment
- Unauthorized use of a vehicle
- Possessing a weapon
- Possessing stolen property
- Alcohol possession
- Tobacco possession
- Marijuana possession
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Resisting an officer
If your child is involved in any of these crimes, he or she may be taken into police custody.
When Juveniles Commit Violent Crimes
Just like adults, some juvenile commit violent crimes, and just like with adults, those crimes can be very serious, involving acts such as assault, robbery, and ever murder.
Juveniles are most likely to commit violent crimes on school days, in the hours immediately following the close of school. On non-school days, the rate of juvenile violent crime rises in the evenings.
How Juveniles Cases are Handled in Texas Courts
A juvenile will be taken into custody by a law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe a law has been broken. The juvenile will then go to a processing office and parents will be notified.
A detention hearing will be held within 48 hours of the initial arrest. At this hearing the judge or magistrate decides whether the juvenile will be released or detained in the detention facility until the next court appearance.
Normally, the juvenile will be kept in detention under the following circumstances:
- Suitable parent protection or care is missing
- The juvenile is deemed a danger to himself or herself and/or others
- He or she has previous juvenile offenses and is likely to reoffend
A detention hearing will be held every 10 days to evaluate whether further detention is necessary. A release will require certain conditions to be met, similar to probation for adults. The conditions will apply to both the juvenile and his or her parents.
Charges may be filed in an adjudication hearing. A disposition hearing will decide sentencing and rehabilitation requirements for the juvenile. In serious cases, a judge may decide to subject a juvenile to the adult penal system.
Legal Assistance for Texas Juvenile Cases
Since juvenile cases are handled differently from adult cases, you need the assistance of an experienced Texas juvenile crimes attorney. Someone who not only understands the process inside and out, but also has a track record of success handling these types of cases.
Get in touch with our office for a free consultation and we will go over the details of your child’s case and let you know what options are available. Do not gamble with your child’s future – reach out now.
About the Author:
After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing criminal law in Texas in 2005. Before becoming a defense attorney, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their criminal cases. His skill has earned him recognition from the National Trial Lawyers (Top 100 Trial Lawyers) and Avvo (Top Attorney in Criminal Defense, Top Attorney in DUI & DWI, 10/10 Superb Rating), and he is Lead Counsel rated.