Juvenile and Minors in Municipal Court

If you find yourself in a situation where you or a minor in your charge needs legal representation for a Class C Misdemeanor don’t go it alone, you need an attorney.

Who Qualifies as a Juvenile or Minor?

A juvenile is anyone who is at least ten years old but under seventeen years old. For the purposes of the Class C offenses relating to alcohol a Minor is any person who is under the age of twenty-one.

Class C Misdemeanors are not punishable with jail time, but don’t let that fool you, the consequences can be very serious.

Anyone charged with a Class C Misdemeanor who is younger than seventeen at the time of the offense is required to appear in Court and to have a parent or guardian present with them in Court.

Class C Misdemeanors

A juvenile/minor can be charged with a myriad of Class C Misdemeanors ranging from speeding to disorderly conduct, below are some that are more commonly seen.

Minor in Possession of Alcohol/Minor in Consumption of Alcohol

Anyone under the age of twenty-one found to be consuming or possession alcohol could be charged with Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP) or Minor in Consumption (MIC).

 

Punishment for MIP/MIC may include fines, court cost, driver license suspension, community service and an alcohol awareness course.

 

While a first and second offense MIP or MIC is punishable by fine only, a third offense (or anything beyond a third offense) is a higher-level offense charged as a Class B Misdemeanor punishable with up to six months in jail.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by a Minor (DUIA)

A police officer may issue a citation for DUIA if they believe the minor has any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. The blood alcohol legal limit of intoxication does not apply to minors, they can be arrested and/or ticket for driving with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system.

 

Punishment for a DUIA may include fines and Driver’s License Suspension anywhere from 60 days (first offense) to 180 days (third offense).

  • Minor in Possession of Alcohol
  • Minor in Consumption of Alcohol
  • Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by a Minor (DUIA)
  • Theft – Crime of Moral Turpitude
  • Traffic Offenses

Theft - Crime of Moral Turpitude

A Theft under one-hundred-dollar charge is a Class C Misdemeanor punishable by a fine only.

 

 While paying a fine for a theft charge may seem like no big deal, it is- it is a huge deal.

Theft is what is known as a crime of moral turpitude, this means that having a theft conviction calls into question the character of the individual.

 

Crimes of moral turpitude involve dishonesty or fraud and can follow an individual for life. Minors with theft convictions are in danger of having employment denied due to the conviction.

Traffic Offenses

For many traffic offenses a juvenile may be eligible to take a Drivers Safety Course. An individual is eligible to have a moving violation dismissed once every twelve months by taking a Drivers Safety Course.

What is needed for a Drivers Safety Course?

  • Valid Texas Driver’s License
  • Valid vehicle insurance policy
  • Payment of the DSC fee to the Court

You are not eligible for DSC if your offense involved:

  • Speeding twenty-five miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit;
  • Passing a school bus;
  • Offense in construction zone with workers present;

Deferred Disposition Options

Deferred Disposition is an option available at the discretion of the Court and is often ordered in cases where the juvenile is facing a first offense. Once a plea of no contest or guilty is entered the Court may hold that plea in abeyance to give the juvenile time to complete Deferred Disposition.

Deferred Disposition may include:

  • Payment of fine and court costs
  • Alcohol Awareness Course (MIP/MIC)
  • Community Service
  • Driver Safety Course (required for those under twenty-five on deferred for a moving violation
  • Tobacco Awareness Course (Minor in Possession of Tobacco)
  • Marijuana Course (Possession of Drug Paraphernalia)
  • Essay relating to the offense
  • Any other condition the Judge finds reasonably related to the offense that will help you learn from your mistakes. (ex. For a theft charge you may be Ordered to talk to the loss prevention officer at a store who can explain to you the effects of theft on the community and write an essay regarding the same)

What is Teen Court?

Some cities offer an additional Deferred Disposition option for juveniles who are still in high school, this is Teen Court. Teen Court is a great opportunity for teens to learn from their mistakes.

 

Each Court will have different requirements for participating in teen court, but it is often a fee which is greatly reduced from the original fine and can include.

  • Payment fee to participate in Teen Court
  • Alcohol Awareness Course (MIP/MIC)
  • Community Service
  • Driver Safety Course
  • Tobacco Awareness Course (Minor in Possession of Tobacco)
  • Marijuana Course (Possession of Drug Paraphernalia)
  • Essay relating to the offense
  • Any other condition the Judge finds reasonably related to the offense that will help you learn from your mistakes. (ex. For a theft charge you may be Ordered to talk to the loss prevention officer at a store who can explain to you the effects of theft on the community and write an essay regarding the same)

Juvenile Court can be a Scary Place

An encounter with police can be frightening and overwhelming, so can an appearance in Court, especially for a juvenile/minor.

 

For over a decade Colette has been dealing with all types of Class C Misdemeanor cases involving  juveniles and she understands the intricacies involved.

 

Contact Sallas Law to set up a consultation. Colette will provide personal care and representation in each case she takes.