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How Are Juvenile Crimes Punished in Texas?

 Posted on March 17, 2021 in Criminal Defense

Travis County criminal defense attorney

The criminal justice system is a network of government and private agencies that manages  accused and convicted criminals. The system consists of different areas, including academia, law enforcement, forensic services, the judiciary, and corrections. The goal of the system is to rehabilitate offenders, prevent other crimes, and provide support for victims. Like many other states, Texas takes criminal activity seriously and alleged offenders can face severe punishments if convicted. Even though juvenile crimes are those committed by minors, they may still face stiff consequences. That is why it is imperative that juveniles who are facing criminal charges seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to learn about their rights in the juvenile justice system.

Common Offenses Committed by Minors

It is not uncommon for young people to act without thinking about the consequences. Unfortunately, this can lead them to making mistakes and doing something illegal. In some cases, these crimes are similar to adult offenses; however, the penalties are based more on their age or other factors. 

A few of the typical criminal acts that are committed by juveniles include:

  • Theft

  • Assault

  • Shoplifting

  • Drug possession or distribution

  • Alcohol-related offenses (underage drinking, fake ID, DWI)

  • Sexual crimes

  • Vandalism

  • Fraud

Texas Penalties for Juvenile Crimes 

Sentencing decisions, such as how long a minor will be incarcerated or if he or she is eligible for early release usually depend on the child’s age, the nature of the crime, and prior criminal history. The court or local probation department may impose a variety of punishments, including:

  • Supervisory requirement - The child receives routine counseling through the probation department and may also be referred to social services or a social worker to help with rehabilitation efforts.

  • Deferred prosecution - The child may be placed on a six-month voluntary probation, but if he or she violates the terms, the case will be prosecuted.

  • Probation - The child may receive probation until turning 18. He or she likely will be ordered to perform mandatory community service.

  • Restitution - When a criminal act results in the loss of life and/or property damage, the offender may be required to repay the victim or the victim’s family for their losses.

  • Incarceration - The Texas Youth Commission may incarcerate a child. The offender could then be transferred to the Department of Criminal Justice once he or she turns 21. 

It is important to note that there are certain scenarios in which a child defendant can be tried as an adult under Texas law. If convicted, he or she is subject to adult punishments.

Contact an Austin, Texas Criminal Defense Attorney

The penalties for juvenile crimes can vary depending on the severity of the offense. If your minor child is facing criminal charges in Texas, you will want to be sure to understand your legal options. A tenacious Travis County criminal defense lawyer can assist you and your child with the best course of action to take. Morales Law Office, Attorneys at Law, PLLC., has more than 50 years of combined legal experience, and we can build a comprehensive defense strategy to help your family achieve a positive outcome by reducing or eliminating the charges altogether. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 512-474-2222.




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