What You Can Expect When You Come To Court:
Under Texas State law, you are classified as a juvenile if you are under the age of 17. You must appear in Court with a parent or a legal guardian. You may also bring a lawyer, but the presence of your parent/guardian is still required. At your court appearance, you have certain options available to you:
- You may contest the ticket and plead not guilty to the charge filed against you.
If you plead not guilty, you must decide whether or not you want a trial by a Judge or by a jury. Your trial will not be held the same day. Your case(s) will then be reset for a new trial date at which time you may present your case to the Court. At your trial, a Judge or a jury will determine your guilt or innocence.
- You may agree with the ticket and enter a plea of guilty or no contest
If you plead guilty or no contest, the Judge will find you guilty and assess a fine from $1.00 to $500.00. The exact amount of the fine will depend on the nature of the offense and other circumstances reviewed by the Judge.
- You may enter a plea of guilty or no contest and request probation.
If you request probation and it is granted by the Judge, you must be prepared to pay court costs and fees. These range anywhere from $20.00 to $50.00 (Exact costs will vary). The Judge will set the terms and conditions of the probation which you must follow for a period up to 6 months. Your case will be reset, and, if you successfully complete the terms and conditions of your probation as set forth by the Judge, your case will be dismissed. When the case is dismissed, there will be no record of a conviction. Probation allows you to receive a "second chance."
- You may enter a plea of guilty or no contest and request community service hours in lieu of paying a fine.
You may ask the Judge to assign your case to the Teenage Community Alternative Program (TCAP) where you do have the option of community service in lieu of paying a fine. The number of hours you work is determined by the amount of the fine and the violation itself. Typically, community service hours will involve projects such as the clean-up of city parks, city buildings, non-profit organization, graffiti removal as well as many others.
- You may be required to attend a workshop.
The following workshops are also available in Juvenile Court: CONFLICT RESOLUTION -(JUMP), PEER PRESSURE WORKSHOPS, MAKING CHOICES, SUBSTANCE ABUSE WORKSHOPS, OPERATION "KICK IT".
- You should be prepared to pay the fine at the time you are found guilty.
There Are Two Other Important Things You Need To Keep In Mind:
- If you do not appear in court as scheduled, an additional charge of Failure to Appear (FTA) may be filed against you, and a warrant could be issued for your arrest; and
- You are expected to act and dress properly and follow the rules of the Court. Shorts, tank tops, halters, caps or hats, and any type of clothing displaying vulgar or offensive graphics are not permitted.
PLEASE WEAR APPROPRIATE CLOTHING WHEN YOU APPEAR IN COURT.