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Juvenile law in Texas

In El Paso and throughout Texas, juvenile centers are used as short-term arrangements. They provide multiple services, including crisis intervention, custodial care, counseling and education. According to state law, children in detention have hearings at set intervals so that a judge can determine whether it is advisable to continue to hold them.

If a child is facing charges, a court investigation is initiated by a probation officer. After evaluating the child's behavior and the quality of his or her relationships, the probation officer will complete a social history report that the judge may consult when determining a plan for the child's future.

During an adjudication hearing or court proceeding, the child, as well as his or her family and attorney, will appear before a judge or jury that will decide if the child engaged in delinquent behavior and requires supervision. If the child is determined to have committed an offense, the judge will order a plan designed to protect the public and guide the child to a crime-free future.

The plan or disposition will be based on guidelines that are intended to provide consequences that correspond to the severity of the offense and that provide appropriate outcomes for the child. The guidelines consist of progressive steps created to establish a balance between rehabilitation, public protection and accountability on the part of the child. The juvenile court judges have many options when considering the appropriate consequences. The youngest children who have committed the least serious offenses may get the opportunity to demonstrate no further actions are needed to prevent illegal behavior in the future.

Juvenile offenses may result in serious consequences for a child. A criminal law attorney may work to ensure that the juvenile's rights have not been violated. The attorney may present a defense during an adjudication hearing to have a client's charges dismissed.

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