The last thing parents want is for a youthful mistake to haunt their child for the rest of his or her life. And here in Texas, where the penalties for a juvenile crime can be rather severe, that is a real possibility. In this post, we’ll briefly highlight a few Texas juvenile crime facts and what the consequences can be.
Who Commits Juvenile Crimes?
In Texas, a person between age 10 and age 17 may be charged with a juvenile crime. Here are a few facts about juvenile crime in general:
- Males offend more frequently than females
- Running away is more common for girls than boys
- Underage drinking offenses are more frequently committed by boys
- About 25 percent of juvenile crimes are property-related (vandalism, graffiti, etc.)
- 80 percent of violent juvenile crime is committed by boys
What Causes a Teen to Commit a Crime?
This question may not have a true, direct answer, because every person and every situation are different. However, there are some risk factors that, when present in a child’s life, may raise the probability of offending. However, many teens find themselves in legal trouble even if the risk factors are not present. Some factors include:
- Being abused, physically or psychologically
- Parents involved in criminal activity
- Substance abuse in the family
- Association with delinquents
- Aggressiveness in childhood
When do Violent Teenage Crimes Occur?
Violent crimes tend to happen most frequently on school days, typically within a few hours of the end of the school day. For non-school days, as you might expect, night time is when most violent juvenile crimes occur. The U.S. Department of Justice has a very helpful graphic showing the trends for school days and non-school days.
How Texas Handles Juvenile Cases
After a juvenile is arrested, a detention hearing typically takes place within the next 48 hours. This is where the judge decides whether the young person should be released or detained until the next court hearing.
The likelihood that the juvenile will be detained increases if any of the following factors are present:
- A parent or other suitable caregiver cannot be found
- The young person is dangerous to himself or others
- The juvenile has previous offenses
Every 10 days, there will be another detention hearing to decide whether detention should continue. To be released, both the juvenile and his/her parents may have to meet certain conditions. The conditions are often similar to the conditions of probation for adults.
A disposition hearing will eventually be held. This is where sentencing and rehab requirements are decided. If the case is very serious, the juvenile court can decide to transfer the teenager to the adult criminal justice system.
Legal Representation in Texas Juvenile Crime Cases
If your child is in trouble with the law, don’t wait to contact an attorney. At Setzer Law Firm, we understand the Texas juvenile system and we’re ready to help. Email us today to learn how we can help preserve your child’s bright future.