If you are between the ages of 10 and 16 years old, you are considered a juvenile.
If you are a juvenile and have been charged with an offense filed in this court, you must appear with a parent or guardian before the judge in open court to enter your plea. The child and parent must be present even if a licensed attorney appears in court on behalf of the juvenile.
A minor is a person aged between 17 and 21 years old.
All minor defendants charged with an alcohol-related offense must plea in person before the judge in open court, even if the defendant wishes to be represented by a licensed attorney.
Juvenile Diversion Program
Juveniles who have been charged with a non-traffic offense for the first time may qualify to take part in the diversion program. This program gives an opportunity for first-time offenders to resolve a citation without being formally charged in court.
If you are interested or believe that you qualify for the program, email the Juvenile Case Manager or call 972-292-5588. Once you agree to take part, you will receive a Notice to Appear for a diversion meeting. At the meeting, the JCM will discuss with you the requirements and expectations to successfully complete the program.
Requesting a Court Date
Juveniles and Minors can make a request for a court setting in person, by mail, or online. The Juvenile Case Manager will contact the parent/guardian of Juveniles to provide additional information specific to juveniles. In addition, the law requires a Summons to Appear to be issued to the parent/guardian of a juvenile.
Obligation to notify the court of address change. A child and parent required to appear before the Municipal Court have an obligation to provide the court in writing with the current address and residence of the child. The obligation does not end when the child reaches age 17. Within 1 week of changing residence, the child or parent shall notify the court of the new address. A violation of this subsection is a Class C misdemeanor and may result in arrest. The obligation to give a notice ends on discharge and satisfaction of the judgment or final disposition not requiring a finding of guilt.
When in Court
The courtroom, whether in person or virtual, is a formal and very serious place. It commands respect from all who take part in the proceedings. Show your respect for the court by dressing and acting properly. Do not wear shorts, miniskirts, hats, t-shirts, or tank tops of any kind.
Your license may be suspended if you don’t appear. If a defendant does not appear or does not follow a valid court order or judgment, a notice will be sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety for the suspension or denial of a driver’s license. Once suspended or denied, driving privileges will be restored only when there is a final disposition of the case, including payment of judgment fine and court costs, completion of all terms of probation, and other requirements.
If you enter a plea of Not Guilty, another court date will be scheduled at that time.
If eligible, a plea of No Contest or Guilty may be considered for a dismissal option with deferred disposition.
What are the possible dismissal options for juveniles/minors?
The law requires that a juvenile defendant, together with a parent or guardian, must appear before a judge in open court to enter a plea. After a plea is accepted, the following options may be available depending on the violation or charge.
Driving Safety Course
If you are charged with a traffic-related offense, you may be eligible to take a Driving Safety Course to prevent a conviction from being reported on your driving record. If you are going to request this option, be prepared to do the following:
- Present your valid Texas Driver’s License.
- Present your proof of current auto insurance; and
- Pay $144.00 or $169.00 (school zone)
The proof of insurance must be current and list the defendant as a driver OR be for the vehicle the defendant was driving at the time of citation. Upon successful completion, send your driving safety class certificate & type 3a Driving record to the court and your case will be DISMISSED.
Deferred Disposition Probation
Deferred disposition is a form of probation which allows for dismissal of a case after satisfactory compliance with the terms and conditions set by the judge.
The probation period and applicable deferred fine, including court costs, will be set during your discussion with the prosecuting attorney or judge. The period may be up to 180 days. In most cases, the required fees would be equal to the standard window fine and costs for the applicable offense. Be prepared to pay the fees at the time of your appearance.
If you were charged with a traffic offense, you will be required to take a Driving Safety Course as a condition of the probation. If you have a Provisional Driver’s License, you will also be required to take a Road Test administered by the Department of Public Safety.
For cases involving Tobacco, E-Cigarettes, or Alcohol, you will be ordered to complete law-required classes and/or community service hours. If you successfully complete the conditions of your probation your case will be DISMISSED.
Proof or Compliance Dismissals
If a defendant was issued a citation for Failure To Maintain Financial Responsibility (no insurance) or for an Expired Violation, the defendant may present proof to the judge and request to have the citation dismissed. If applicable, dismissal fees may apply.
Teen Court is an alternative, volunteer program that allows you to substitute community service work for the fine portion of your punishment. Your case will be presented to a jury of your peers. Volunteer teen attorneys will represent you and teen jurors will assess the circumstances of the case and assign community service hours according to the Discipline Grid.
You may take part in the program only once within a one-year period. Parental consent and participation are required. Be prepared to pay the court costs and administrative fee at the time of election. Upon successful completion, the case will be DISMISSED.
If you need more information about your case, email the Juvenile Case Manager or call 972-292-5588.
** The Juvenile Case Manager is not an attorney and will not be able to provide legal advice. The JCM will be available to explain processes and procedures, answer questions, and provide options for handling juvenile violations. **