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When Does Texas Try Juveniles as Adults?


Are you a parent of a teenager who was recently arrested for a crime, such a violent crime, selling drugs, robbery, or a sexually motivated crime? Or, perhaps your son or daughter has been in trouble with the law before, and now you're worried that the juvenile court system will say, "Enough is enough."

Will your teen be tried as an adult?

In all states, the general theory is that if an offender is under the age of 18, he or she will be tried in the juvenile court system, not the adult court system. However, that is not the case 100% of the time, exceptions do apply.

Under certain circumstances, a youth who is under 18 can be transferred to the adult court system, but the rules vary depending on the state. Generally, a juvenile may be transferred to adult criminal court under the following circumstances:

  • The juvenile has committed a serious violent crime, for example, murder.
  • The juvenile has not responded to rehabilitation.
  • The juvenile continues to commit crimes, despite efforts toward rehabilitation.

How Juveniles are Handled in Texas

Here in Texas, the juvenile court system oversees minors between the ages of 10 and 17. If the juvenile offender is 14 or older, the juvenile judge has the power to decide that the juvenile will be tried as an adult – this is called a judicial waiver.

Texas enforces a "once an adult always an adult" policy for felony offenses, unless there was an acquittal, dismissal or reversal in the youth's original case.

What if my teen is transferred to adult court?

The last thing any parent wants is for their child's case to be transferred to adult court. If your child is tried as an adult, that means they face the same punishment as adults, which can include life without the possibility of parole.

If your teen is convicted of a crime, that means that from that day forward, they will have an adult criminal record, which can affect college applications, scholarships, the ability to play on a college sports team, and future employment opportunities.

Does your son or daughter need an attorney? They sure do, they need someone like Attorney Derek A. Adame, a former prosecutor, who is experienced defending juvenile cases.

Contact us today to see what we can do to help your son or daughter fight their charges.

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