What is the Difference Between Juvenile Court and Adult Criminal Court in Texas?
This guide briefly describes the differences between juvenile and criminal court in Texas. Attorney James Sullivan is Board Certified in Juvenile Law and frequently defends clients in juvenile and criminal court in Harris, Montgomery, Fort Bend and surrounding counties.
What is the difference between juvenile court and adult criminal court?In Texas, children from 10 to 16 years of age are charged in juvenile court. In Harris County, the children are tried in Juvenile District Courts, whereas in other counties they may be charged in juvenile district or county courts. Juvenile court is considered a civil court, although certain sections of criminal law are applicable. In the juvenile system, a child is charged with a "delinquency" by way of petition whether than with a "crime" by way of complaint or indictment. At trial, a jury or judge returns a verdict of "true" or "not true" instead of "guilty" or "not guilty". Also, unless a juvenile is certified to stand trial as an adult and transferred to criminal court, juveniles are not released on "bond" but are released or detained depending upon the circumstances of their. Finally, the juvenile system primarily focuses on rehabilitation. Instead of a "punishment" hearing, if a juvenile is found to have engaged in delinquent conduct, the juvenile then has a "disposition" hearing where the consequences for his behavior are based upon guidelines and levels, not necessarily upon the offense as in criminal court. Because juvenile law proceedings are hybrid in that they involve both civil and criminal law, you should retain an attorney that specializes in this unique area of law.
At what age in Texas is a teenager charged and tried as an adult?17. Texas is one of only 10 states where 17 year olds are tried and sentenced as adults. Because of this, it is extremely important that a juvenile mature quickly before his wayward path takes him into the adult system. For many children, the juvenile system becomes a pipeline to adult prison.