One of the main concerns in any juvenile case is to keep the minor out of juvenile hall and keep the charges off the minor's permanent record. The principle of Juvenile Court is to rehabilitate the minor in an effort to allow for personal growth and legal responsibility, ultimately resulting in a young man or woman that can be a productive member of society. Unfortunately, the notion of rehabilitating minors has been lost in the midst of tougher laws aimed at those under 16 years of age, allowing more and more children to have permanent criminal records for the rest of their lives and to remain incarcerated for longer than ever.
While the crimes and laws are generally the same for minors in juvenile court as they are for adults in the criminal justice system, minors are provided fewer rights and fewer protections, all under the umbrella of rehabilitation. The problem is more and more young people are spending more time in juvenile hall or jail, missing out on family life, education, and just being kids.
Another risk is the district attorney prosecuting a minor as an adult, subjecting the minor to full punishment and penalty under the law that an adult would have. If the charges are extremely serious, the juvenile's case is elevated, where a minor is tried in the adult criminal justice system.
If you are under 16 years of age and have been cited or arrested, you are being treated as a Juvenile in the criminal justice system. Generally several laws and procedures differ in juvenile court as opposed to the adult system.
Basics of the Texas Criminal Justice System
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