Texas Juvenile Adjudication
Trial as an Adult
There often is a possibility that a child will be tried as an adult, in adult criminal court, rather than a
hearing in juvenile law court. The protections of a child court proceeding do not exist in adult court. Court
proceedings and records are not confidential, but are open to the public, and the court may impose the same
sentence on your son or daughter (jail time, fines and probation) that would be imposed on an adult.
When May a Juvenile Be Tried as an Adult?
Laws in some states require anyone charged with certain crimes, such as homicide, to be tried as an adult,
regardless of age. Many states also provide that a youth must be tried as an adult if he or she has been previously
found guilty of an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult.
Prosecutors are often given the discretion to charge a young person in either adult or juvenile court. This
discretion is limited to certain types of offenses, committed by children over a certain age. The offenses charged
are usually violent, serious or repeat offenses. Some other factors that may be included are nature of the crime,
extent of prior record, juvenile's intellect and philological development, and past rehabilitative treatment.
Judges in virtually every state may waive child court jurisdiction and transfer a case to adult court. This is
typically done at the request of the prosecutor. A hearing is usually held to determine if the case is an
appropriate one for adult court. The main factor the court will consider is whether the youth can be helped by the
youth court system. If the court concludes that the resources available within the juvenile court system can
rehabilitate the young person, the case will stay in the court.
Texas Juvenile Sentence:
A child tried as an adult will be treated no differently from an adult. Unlike child court, all court
proceedings will be open to the public, and the records of the proceedings will be public information. The record
of a child's conviction will not be sealed, but will be a public record.
The sentence imposed will also be the same as would be imposed on an adult. The time served would not be limited
to when the child reaches the age of majority, as in juvenile sentences. The consequences of a child being tried as
an adult can be dramatically different from what may happen if a case stayed in youth court.
A child found guilty of a crime in child court may receive probation, have a fine imposed, perform community
service, make restitution or pay back the losses caused by the criminal acts, or be sentenced to serve time in a
youth correctional facility.
Being accused of a crime is a frightening and stressful event. Even in minor cases, you should secure skilled
and knowledgeable lawyer who can help streamline the justice process, provide zealous representation and help
minimize the impact on your child's life. If your child has been charged with committing a crime, do not delay in
contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Call Juvenile Law Attorney Ed Brown serving Killeen and Temple at 254-634-2587.