In the State of Texas, children and teenagers aged 10 to 17 years old are considered as juveniles. At that time frame, they are prone to emotional lapses, drastic change, and impulsive or aggressive actions, which may lead them to have a brush with the law.
Once apprehended by authorities, juveniles are not to be treated the same as convicted adults because the entire Texas system of Juvenile Justice is meant to rehabilitate and guide, rather than to punish. There are many ways that this can go forward, usually depending on these factors:
- The child’s initial status, if he/she is intoxicated or emotionally unstable
- The kind of kind supervision available; if there are parents, adult siblings, teachers, authorized guardians, etc.
- The child’s credibility in attending court hearings and adhering to the Juvenile Justice system
- The child’s history in criminal and delinquent history even outside the law, considering the community, school, and even household.
- The danger the child can bring to the public or to him/herself
If the accused juvenile is associated with minor crimes, he/she can avoid a formal trial or mitigation through deferred prosecution or counselling. However, the juvenile courts may lead the child to an adult court system because of some of these crimes:
- Murder, manslaughter, homicide / attempted murder, manslaughter
- Sexual assault, rape, indecency
- Aggravated robbery
- Injury to any individual
- Use or selling of controlled substance
In any state, a child or teenager’s first encounter with the law can be traumatizing. Because of this, it is important for the parent or guardian to respond immediately to the situation and ask for legal assistance if deemed necessary. It is also a good idea to teach them the value of abiding by the law and respecting authorities.