Whereas most alleged adult criminal violations are governed by the Texas Penal Code, alleged crimes involving juveniles are regulated by the Texas Family Code. While many juvenile cases focus more on rehabilitation than punishment, alleged juvenile offenders can have criminal records if they are adjudicated guilty of criminal offenses.
In addition to penalties that may include possible suspension of driver’s licenses, community service, and required payment of various fees or costs, a criminal record can also create substantial hardships with many college or employment applications. Certain serious criminal offenses may even result in minors being tried as adults.
Attorney for Juvenile Crimes in Denton, TX
If you or your child were detained anywhere in Denton County for an alleged juvenile crime, it will be in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy can fight to help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case, including possibly having the criminal charges minimized or completely dismissed.
Denton criminal defense lawyers Richard McConathy and Brian Bolton represent alleged juvenile offenders in Flower Mound, Highland Village, Lewisville, Little Elm, The Colony, Argyle, and many surrounding areas of Denton County. Call 940-222-8004 today to have our attorneys provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.
Overview of Juvenile Crime in Denton County
- What are some of the offenses that minors are most frequently charged with?
- How does Texas define delinquent conduct and conduct indicating a need for supervision?
- What circumstances can lead to minors being tried as adults?
- Where can I find more information about juvenile crime in Denton County?
Common Juvenile Crimes in Texas
Alleged juvenile offenders can be charged with many of the same violations of state law as adults. Some of the most common misdemeanor and felony offenses that children are accused of include, but are not limited to:
- Juvenile Drug Charges
- Possession of Alcohol by a Minor
- Use or Possession of Fake ID
- Underage Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
- Reckless Driving
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident
- Driving While License Suspended
- Fleeing and Eluding
- Theft / Larceny
- Shoplifting / Retail Theft
- Criminal Mischief
- Criminal Trespass
Juvenile Delinquency in Denton County
Minors can be referred to juvenile courts in Texas when they alleged commit acts that constitute engaging in delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision (CINS). How alleged conduct is classified can play a major role in the possible punishments an alleged juvenile offender may face.
Delinquent conduct is defined by the Juvenile Justice Code as conduct, other than a traffic offense, that violates a penal law of the state of Texas and is punishable by imprisonment or by confinement in jail, or a violation of a reasonable and lawful order which was entered by a juvenile court. Serious offenses classified as delinquent conduct may be punishable by sentences in the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD).
CINS includes certain non-criminal or status offenses and less serious law violations, such as:
- Three or more fineable misdemeanor offenses or ordinance violations;
- The first or second dwi;
- Violation of any city ordinance or state law prohibiting inhalant abuse.
CINS cases are not punishable by terms of incarceration and generally result in treatment or diversion programs.
When Juveniles Can Be Tried as Adults in Denton
Most cases involving alleged juvenile offenders are handled in juvenile courts. The juvenile court may waive its exclusive original jurisdiction and transfer a child to the appropriate district court or criminal district court for criminal proceedings under Texas Family Code § 54.02(a) if:
- The child is alleged to have committed a felony;
- The child was 14 years of age or older at the time he is alleged to have committed a capital felony, an aggravated controlled substance felony, or a felony of the first degree, and no adjudication hearing has been conducted concerning that offense, or 15 years of age or older at the time the child is alleged to have committed a felony of the second or third degree or a state jail felony, and no adjudication hearing has been conducted concerning that offense; and
- After a full investigation and a hearing, the juvenile court determines that there is probable cause to believe that the child before the court committed the offense alleged and that because of the seriousness of the offense alleged or the background of the child the welfare of the community requires criminal proceedings.
In such cases, a juvenile court will conduct a hearing without a jury to consider transfer of the child for criminal proceedings. The juvenile court must order and obtain a complete diagnostic study, social evaluation, and full investigation of the child, his or her circumstances, and the circumstances of the alleged offense before the hearing.
Texas Family Code § 54.02(f) also states that the court should consider all of the following (among other matters) in making its determination:
- Whether the alleged offense was against person or property, with greater weight in favor of transfer given to offenses against the person;
- The sophistication and maturity of the child;
- The record and previous history of the child; and
- The prospects of adequate protection of the public and the likelihood of the rehabilitation of the child by use of procedures, services, and facilities currently available to the juvenile court.
Texas Resources for Juvenile Crime
Juvenile Probation | Denton County, Texas — Visit this website to learn more about the Denton County Juvenile Probation Department. You can also find information about the Denton County Juvenile Detention Center, the Juvenile Mental Health Court, and Juvenile Probation Field Services. The website also has information about the Denton County Courage to Change Program (CTC) and Juvenile Impact Program.
Denton County Juvenile Probation Department
210 S. Woodrow Lane
Denton, TX 76205
City of Lewisville, TX | Teen Court — The Lewisville/Flower Mound Teen Court is an alternative, voluntary program that offers young offenders an opportunity to make restitution for an offense through community service, specialized classes, and jury service, allowing them to avoid fines and keep their record clear. Participation is limited to youths who have committed Class C misdemeanor offenses within city limits and were issued citations. Participants must plead guilty or no contest.
Lewisville Municipal Court
1197 West Main Street
Lewisville, Texas 75029
Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Denton Juvenile Crime Defense Lawyer
Were you or your child detained for an alleged juvenile offense in Denton County? You will want to contact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy as soon as possible.
Richard McConathy and Brian Bolton are experienced criminal defense attorneys in Denton who represent minors all over Denton County, including Little Elm, Lewisville, Highland Village, Flower Mound, Argyle, The Colony, and many other nearby communities. You can have our lawyers review your case and help you understand all of your legal options when you call 940-222-8004 or complete an online contact form to take advantage of a free initial consultation.