What Is Determinate Sentencing for Juveniles in Texas? | Atascosa County Criminal Defense Attorney

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What Is Determinate Sentencing for Juveniles in Texas?

Posted on in Juvenile Law

Jourdanton juvenile crime attorney

Starting to build a criminal record at a young age can lead to very serious consequences in the future. Even if it begins with small offenses, petty crimes can often lead to more serious crimes in the future and even harsher legal consequences. The United States has always deliberated on how to handle youths within the criminal justice system. Some believe that these minors should receive harsh punishments at the forefront of their record to scare them from committing more crimes, while others view rehabilitation as the correct answer. The state of Texas has worked to put a law in place that avoids allowing youth crimes to go unpunished while also steering away from unnecessarily long and severe sentences.

Determinate Sentencing

One of the primary concerns for those trying to improve the criminal justice system is keeping juveniles outside of the adult criminal justice system. Some states allow a minor to be tried as an adult depending on how close they are to the age of 18 and how serious the crime is. To avoid this being the case in Texas, the state legislature approved determinate sentencing as an alternative for minors. This was originally approved in 1987 and has since seen several legal adjustments. Minors who have committed an offense that is considered a capital or first-degree felony qualify for determinate sentencing. The following are a few examples of criminal offenses that can possibly lead to this alternate type of sentencing:

  • Murder

  • Aggravated kidnapping

  • Sexual assault

  • Aggravated robbery

  • First-degree felony arson

Juveniles who are found guilty of such an offense may serve a portion of their sentence at a Texas Juvenile Justice Department facility. If they respond well to the treatment and rehabilitation that they are provided through this department, they have the chance of being released on parole and supervised by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department moving forward. This possibility of parole is only available to those who serve the minimum length of stay tied to their sentence, which can range from 1 to 10 years. If a minor does not respond well to treatment and does not change their behavior, they may be moved to an adult facility to finish the remainder of their sentence. This can occur anytime after their 16th birthday but before they turn 19 years old.

Call a Karnes County Juvenile Crime Lawyer

Navigating the criminal justice system as an adult is a difficult task. For minors, this can be an even more complicated process. Understanding when the adult criminal justice system can become a reality as a minor is dependent upon a number of details, making it crucial to seek out legal advice from a professional. Our BCP Criminal Defense Attorneys believe that young offenders should have a second chance, regardless of their background. With over 40 years of experience, we are well-versed in the details of juvenile and adult criminal law throughout the state of Texas. If your child is facing criminal charges, contact our Karnes City criminal defense attorneys at 830-769-1010 for a free consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.tjjd.texas.gov/index.php/juvenile-system#summary

https://www.texascjc.org/eliminate-mandatory-minimum-terms-determinate-sentences

 

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