A criminal case involving a juvenile is different in many regards to a similar case for an adult defendant. This is because the primary purpose of juvenile court proceedings in Texas is to try to rehabilitate the minor rather than exact harsh punishments. Since this is the case, there many ways in which the legal system treats juveniles differently.
The arrest of an adult usually results in a set amount of time spent in jail. This is not always the case with juveniles who are arrested. If the arrest is made for a misdemeanor offense, the officer may release the minor back to their parents or legal guardian. The responsibility is then on the parents or guardian to ensure the minor appears for any court proceedings.
If the crime is more serious, the minor may be taken to a juvenile detention facility. This is far different from adult detention facilities and is staffed by professionals trained specifically to work with minors.
The nature of juvenile cases makes bail something that is practically nonexistent. If a minor is placed in a juvenile detention center, their hearing is usually done quickly so as to minimize the time spent in the detention facility. Judges may also release the minor to their parents or guardian until their case is heard.
Major offenses can see minors tried as an adult. This is often at the discretion of the court, but some states have laws in place that automatically determine when a minor is tried as an adult. Even if a minor is tried as an adult, there will be a series of evaluations done to see if the minor can be rehabilitated to avoid spending time in an adult corrections facility.
The hearings for juveniles are different from those of adults. Most often the trial will be in a closed courtroom, and the public will not be allowed. Only in extreme cases will the courtroom be opened to the public. A juvenile defendant also does not have the right to a trial by jury.
The legal system’s main goal when dealing with minors is to ensure they are rehabilitated so they don’t commit the same crimes as adults. This is why the courts go to great lengths to ensure the impact on the minor’s life is as little as possible, and they get the help they need.
To learn more about the juvenile justice system, talk to Rand Mintzer at 713-862-8880 and schedule a free legal consultation.