Juveniles and Minors
Municipal court has jurisdiction over a person between 10 and 17 years of age for certain traffic, alcohol, penal code, tobacco, educational code, city ordinance, and other fine only offenses. A juvenile traffic offender (minor) is a person younger than 17 years of age. Under the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code (TABC), a minor is a person under 21 years of age. In tobacco offenses, a minor is a person under the age of 18 years of age.
Parents & Legal Guardians A parent or legal guardian’s presence in court is required for all proceedings if you are under 17 years of age. Your parent or legal guardian must personally appear with you in court and before the Municipal Judge.
Alcohol & Tobacco
There are two violations in municipal court that are unique to minors and juveniles and they are offenses relating to alcohol and tobacco. Both of these offenses have specific requirements in addition to fines and if a minor or juvenile does not complete any of the mandated requirements, the minor or juvenile will have his or her driver’s license suspended or denied issuance of a driver’s license or permit for a period not to exceed one year.
Every juvenile who receives a citation (ticket) is required by law to appear with a parent or guardian in open court. At the court appearance, the judge will explain the juvenile defendants’ rights and all the options available. Juvenile defendants can then decide how they want to take care of their case. Unless the parents are an attorney, they cannot speak on-behalf of their child. The following is information for juvenile defendants and parents to review before court. · Defendants and parents will meet with the Juvenile Case Manager (JCM) prior to court for “intake” in which the JCM with ask questions about family history, school and other information to help the JCM to provide guidance for completing court orders.
· At the court appearance, the judge will call each case up before the bench and will review the juvenile’s understanding of his/her rights and the options available for disposing of the case.
· If you plead “not guilty,” the court will reschedule your case for another hearing to talk with the prosecutor. You generally, will have a third hearing before your case is set for trial (you have the right to a jury trial).
· If you plead “guilty” or “no contest,” you have the following options:
o Deferred Disposition: Deferred disposition is a type of probation will be for 180 days and is monitored by the JCM. Possible terms of probation include: community service, driver’s safety course, drug testing, drug awareness course and any other sanctions that the judge determines is appropriate to the type of offense with which you are charged.
o Driver’s Safety Course: The option is available only on certain traffic offenses such as speeding. You must have a valid driver’s license and insurance that shows you as a listed driver. To be eligible, you cannot have taken the course within the last 12 months from the date of the current citation. After being granted the right to take a driving safety course, you will have 90 days to complete the course and submit evidence of completion to the court. The costs is $114.00 or if the violation occurred in a school zone, the cost is $139.00. (No extensions will be granted if you do not complete the course within 90 days.)
o Teen Court: Participating in the Teen Court Program will allow you to have your ticket dismissed for a court costs and a fee in the amount of $91.00, $124.00 or $149.00 depending on the offense charged. After the court grants you the right to participate in a Teen Court program, you will be sentenced by a teen jury. You will be required to serve on a certain number of teen juries; perform a certain number of community service hours; attend educational programs sponsor by teen court; and perform other teen court terms. You will have 90 days from the date of the teen court hearing to complete all the terms of teen court. (no extensions will be granted if you do not complete the course within 90 days.)
o Pay the Fine and Costs: If you want to pay the fine and costs, you can do so. This will mean that a conviction will be entered on your case and may be reported to the Texas Department of Public Safety for inclusion on your driving record. Fines and costs assessed upon conviction can be paid at the time they are assessed; by time payments ($25 time payment fee will be added); or by performing community service (the court will provide a list of community service providers).
Failure to Appear
If a juvenile fails to appear at any hearing or trial as ordered by the judge, the court will notify the Department of Public Safety in Austin. DPS then will take actions to suspend or deny the driver’s license of the juvenile defendant. The court also will notify the Department of Public Safety in Austin if the juvenile fails to fulfill his/her sentencing requirement. DPS then will take actions to suspend or deny the driver’s license of the juvenile.
Juvenile Case Manager / Teen Court Coordinator
550 Landa Street
New Braunfels, TX 78130