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Can a Juvenile Be Charged as an Adult in Texas?


Recently, two 17 year olds in Prosper, Texas were charged with murder. According to the Denton Record-Chronicle, the teens shot and killed a 19-year-old man from Little Elm during a drug deal gone wrong.

The incident took place around lunchtime on a Friday in a cul-de-sac near a playground. The 19-year-old had shown up at the location to purchase marijuana. Video surveillance captured the incident. In the footage, a gray Volkswagen pulled into the cul-de-sac. The 19 year old opened one of the vehicle’s rear doors and got inside. Minutes later, the 19 year old exited the Volkswagen quickly and ran away. Reportedly, the footage showed one of the 17 year olds exiting the vehicle and shooting the 19 year old as he ran away.

When police arrived at the scene, the 19 year old’s girlfriend approached them and explained that her boyfriend was there to buy marijuana when he was shot. She told the officers the name of one the 17 year olds her boyfriend was there to buy drugs from, and the police were able to track down the 17 year olds from there. The 17 year olds were later arrested and charged with murder.

At the time of this report, the 17 year olds were in jail and their bail was set at $1 million.

Can a Juvenile Be Tried as an Adult in Texas?

The penalties that adults face if they’re convicted of committing a crime are far harsher than the ones that minors face if they’re convicted of committing the same crime. In some cases, if someone under 18 commits a crime in Texas, they can be prosecuted as an adult instead of a minor. Generally, this only happens if the minor meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • The minor is nearly 18 years old.
  • The minor committed a violent crime.
  • The minor has a long criminal record.

Legally speaking, in Texas, any minor who is 14 years old or older can be tried as an adult if they commit certain crimes, such as an aggravated controlled substance felony, a first-degree felony, or a capital felony.

In addition, juveniles who are 15 years old or older when they commit a crime in Texas can be tried as adults if there is probable cause to believe they committed a state jail felony or second or third degree felony.

Our experienced criminal defense attorney in Denton can defend the rights of a juvenile charged as an adult for committing a crime in Texas. Call Derek A. Adame, Attorney at Law at 940.441.4239 or contact us online today for a free consultation.

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