Can Juvenile Offenders Go to Prison?

Alleged juvenile offenders in Travis County require a strong legal defense as, depending on their charges, they could face a potentially lengthy prison sentence.

Young people frequently make errors in judgment that can cause them to engage in reckless and illegal behavior. Despite their age, they can face serious criminal charges in Texas. To protect them from potentially severe ramifications, including a possible prison sentence, it is important to get an experienced Travis County criminal defense attorney on your side.

Juvenile Offenses in Travis County That Carry Serious Penalties

According to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD), close to 50,000 young people are arrested on criminal charges throughout the state each year. Whether they are involved in criminal activity due to a momentary error in judgment, hanging with the wrong crowd, or otherwise being at the wrong place at the wrong time, they can face serious penalties as a result.

Juvenile crimes in Travis County range from relatively minor offenses to major felonies that could result in a prison sentence. These include: 

  • Disorderly conduct and truancy offenses: These are relatively minor crimes that can result in misdemeanor charges. However, repeat violations are likely to be dealt with more severely.
  • Property crimes: Theft, motor vehicle theft, and robbery are among the most common types of juvenile offenses and can result in more serious penalties.
  • Alcohol and drug offenses: Another common type of juvenile offense, these can result in juvenile detention or a possible jail sentence if others are injured or if the offender is engaged in trafficking;
  • Violent criminal offenses: Rape, robbery, assault, and murder are all violent offenses that could result in a prison sentence for juvenile offenders in Travis County.

Juvenile Offenders Can Receive a Prison Sentence

Cases involving juvenile offenses are generally dealt with through the Travis County Juvenile Court. While adult courts focus on protecting public safety by punishing criminal offenders, the juvenile justice system generally emphasizes treatment and rehabilitation. However, this does not mean juvenile offenders do not face serious penalties. These include:

  • For more minor offenses, punishment may include fines, mandatory community service, and drug, alcohol, or other types of educational classes.
  • When a juvenile offender poses a risk to themselves and others in the community, they may be sent to a juvenile detention center. In Travis County, this would be the Gardner-Betts Juvenile Justice Center in Austin.
  • In general, juveniles cannot be sent to state prison until they reach the age of 18. However, when they have a lengthy criminal record or are convicted of major crimes, such as murder, they can be held in a juvenile detention facility under they are 18 and then transferred to a regular prison.

Get Our Experienced Travis County Criminal Defense Attorneys On Your Side

Juvenile offenses can have serious penalties. To help prevent a conviction, you need an experienced Travis County criminal defense lawyer on your side. For trusted guidance and professional legal representation, call or contact Granger and Mueller, P.C. online and request a consultation.