A child may become engaged in the Juvenile Justice system when the child’s behavior comes within the statutory definition of “delinquent conduct” or is in need of “supervision.”
The term “child” depends upon the legislative context. For purposes of the Juvenile Justice Code, a “child” is a person who is:
- 10 years of age or older and under 17 years of age, OR
- 17 years of age or older and under 18 years of age who is alleged or found to have engaged in delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision as a result of acts committed before becoming 17 years of age.
“Delinquent Conduct” is defined in four categories:
1. Violation of a penal law – other than a traffic offense – of Texas or the United States that is “punishment by imprisonment or by confinement in jail”;
2. Violation of a court order “under circumstances that would constitute contempt of that court…”;
3. Violation of certain Texas Penal Code provisions that deal with intoxication in certain circumstances, such as, while driving, boating, flying, committing an assault or manslaughter; and,
4. Violation of provisions of the Alcoholic Beverage Code relating to a 3rd or subsequent offense by a minor driving while under the influence of alcohol.
“Conduct Indicating A Need for Supervision” is defined in seven categories:
1. Violation of penal law – other than a traffic offense – of Texas that is a misdemeanor punishable by fine only or violation of any penal ordinance of any Texas political subdivision;
2. Truancy – unexcused absences from school for a certain number of days during the school year;
3. Voluntary absence of the child from the child’s home without consent of the child’s parent or guardian “for a substantial length or time or without intent to return”;
4. “Glue or paint sniffing” meaning inhalation of the fumes or vapors of paint or other substances prohibited by city ordinance or state law;
5. Violation of standards of student conduct resulting in expulsion;
6. Violation of a “reasonable and lawful order” that requires an “at-risk” child or parent or other care-takers to participate in services provided by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services;
7. Violation of provisions of the Penal Code prohibiting prostitution or electronic transmission of visual materials of a minor engaging in sexual conduct.
A child may be represented by an attorney at every stage of proceedings under the Juvenile Justice Code.
Contact us for more details about the laws and rights pertaining to juvenile proceedings, and to discuss representation by Shannon Law.