Lubbock County, Texas

State Of Texas - County Of Lubbock

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Juvenile and Minor Offenses

DEFINED

 
There are two classifications for young people charged with offenses in Justice of the Peace Court. A Minor is a young person under the age of 21. A Juvenile is a person under the age of 18.
 

For more information, click on the type of offense you are interested in:

 
 

ALCOHOL VIOLATIONS

 
     The most common violations for alcohol offenses in Justice of the Peace Court are Possession and Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor. Other offenses include Public Intoxication and Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by a Minor. It is important to note that the Texas Legislature has determined it to be a crime when a minor drives a motor vehicle while having any detectable amount of alcohol in his/her system, when driving a motor vehicle. It is different for adults.
 
     The first step for an alleged alcohol violator is to enter a plea on the charge. Either a juvenile or a minor can be charged with these offenses. There are three ways you can plead:
 
     Not Guilty- You have to absolute right to a trial by Judge or jury. If you choose to go to trial, you will need to post an appearance bond. An appearance bond simply means you are putting up collateral (usually cash) to guarantee your appearance in Court. Once you show up for your trial, the bond will be returned to you.
 
     If you wish to plead Not Guilty, you may request trial by Judge or Jury. You are not required to have an attorney in Court, but you may hire one if you wish. The District Attorney of Lubbock County will have an attorney present to prosecute the case against you. In some instances, you may be able to meet with the attorney at a pre-trial conference to discuss why you are contesting the ticket. The Judge is prohibited, by Law, from discussing your ticket with you unless the District Attorney is present.
 
     If you choose to go to Court, you are responsible for bringing all papers, pictures, and exhibits with you to the Court hearing. You may also contact the Court for information on how to subpoena witnesses.
 
     Guilty or Nolo Contendre (No Contest)- By pleading Guilty you are admitting you were guilty of the offense. Nolo Contendre (no contest) is a neutral plea under which you are neither admitting or denying the offense. If you know you plan to plead Not Guilty, you need to either contact the Court at 775-1070 to ask about your appearance bond, or contact your attorney.
 
     If you plan to plead Guilty or No Contest, the following four punishments are applicable to every case:
 
(A) You will be fined up to $500,
(B) Your Drivers License will be suspended for thirty days,
(C) You will be required to complete twelve hours of community service or complete a report on the dangers of alcohol, and
(D) You will be required to attend an alcohol awareness class. This class consists of two three-hour educational sessions.
 
SHOPLIFTING VIOLATIONS
 
     On a charge of shoplifting, any minor child under the age of 18 is required to appear with a parent. You have the absolute right to plead Not Guilty and request a trial. If you choose to go to trial, you will need to post an appearance bond. An appearance bond simply means you are putting up collateral (usually cash) to guarantee your appearance in Court. Once you show up for your trial, the bond will be returned to you.

     If you wish to plead Not Guilty, you may request trial by Judge or Jury. You are not required to have an attorney in Court, but you may hire one if you wish. The District Attorney of Lubbock County will have an attorney present to prosecute the case against you. In some instances, you may be able to meet with the attorney at a pre-trial conference to discuss why you are contesting the charge. The Judge is prohibited, by Law, from discussing your case with you unless the District Attorney is present, or you have already pled Guilty or No Contest.
 
     If you choose to go to Court, you are responsible for bringing all papers, pictures, and exhibits with you to our Court hearing. You may also contact the Court for information on how to subpoena witnesses.
 
     You may also plead Guilty or Nolo Contendre (No Contest). No Contest is a neutral plea where you neither admit or deny shoplifting. But if you plead either guilty or no contest, we move immediately to the punishment phase of the trial.
 
     There are two options:
 
1)  Pay the fine
2)  Enter a shoplifter's program

1) Pay the fine
     The fine amount is $300. The bad thing about this option is the offense goes on your child's record, it is the parent and not the child being punished, and the stigma of a Theft arrest can follow your child through their entire life. If your child has aspirations to become a doctor, nurse, or medical technician, a lawyer, politician, firefighter, police officer, sheriff's deputy, or serve in a branch of the military, this single arrest could keep them from entering those fields and many others. This does, however, remain as an option. You may wish to explore the other two options before making a final decision.
 
2) Enter a shoplifter's program
     This Court offers a shoplifter's program. This must be approved by the Judge after a conference. The costs for the program is $75.00. You are also required to pay court costs.
 
     The Y.E.S. Program is on 2 audio CD's (it will also be available online soon).The child is tested and assessed in your home and mails in the results. Many times shoplifting is indicative of a much deeper problem. Only the child accused of shoplifting knows whether this is their first offense, their fifth, or the one hundredth time they have stolen.
 
     The test is excellent. It tells us something about the young person and instills values concerning right and wrong. The test has enjoyed excellent success and feedback. Your child will come back in one of three categories: Low, medium, or high risk. If they are medium or high risk, you will be notified and you can take additional steps for rehabilitation and counseling on your own.
 
     The important thing to note is that, if you or your child takes the test, that case may be placed on probation. That means if you or your child does everything you are supposed to, the charge will be dismissed. In addition to the test, the Judge will also go over some other requirements of probation with you and your child.
 
 

TOBACCO VIOLATIONS

 
     One of our newer laws in this State involves minors and tobacco. Among the more common violations we see in Justice of the Peace Court are: Purchasing or attempting to purchase tobacco, consumption of tobacco, and possession of tobacco.

     The first step for a minor cited for a tobacco offense is to enter a plea. There are three ways you can plead:
 
     Not Guilty- You have to absolute right to a trial by Judge or jury. If you choose to go to trial, you will need to post an appearance bond. An appearance bond simply means you are putting up collateral (usually cash) to guarantee your appearance in Court. Once you show up for your trial, the bond will be returned to you.
 
     If you wish to plead Not Guilty, you may request trial by Judge or Jury. You are not required to have an attorney in Court, but you may hire one if you wish. The District Attorney of Lubbock County will have an attorney present to prosecute the case against you. In some instances, you may be able to meet with the attorney at a pre-trial conference to discuss why you are contesting the ticket. The Judge is prohibited, by Law, from discussing your ticket with you unless the District Attorney is present, or you have already pled Guilty or No contest.
 
     If you choose to go to Court, you are responsible for bringing all papers, pictures, and exhibits with you to our Court hearing. You may also contact the Court for information on how to subpoena witnesses.
 
     Guilty or Nolo Contendre (No Contest)- By pleading Guilty you are admitting you were guilty of the offense. Nolo Contendre (no contest) is a neutral plea under which you are neither admitting or denying the offense. If you know you plan to plead Not Guilty, you need to either contact the Court at 775-1070 to ask about your appearance bond, or contact your attorney.
 
     If you plan to plead Guilty or No Contest, the following four punishments are applicable to every case:
(A) You will be fined up to $500,
(B) Your Drivers License will be suspended for thirty days,
(C) You will be required to complete twelve hours of community service or complete a report about the dangers of
tobacco, and
(D) You will be required to attend an tobacco awareness class. This class consists of two three-hour educational sessions.
 

TRUANCY

 
The law allows School Districts to file charges in Justice Court against parents or their children when the child has missed more days of school than the law allows. A case filed against the parent is usually done so under a law known as PARENT CONTRIBUTING TO TRUANCY. A charge filed against the child is usually filed as FAILURE TO ATTEND SCHOOL.

If a truancy case is filed in Lubbock County, the School District is usually represented by an Attendance Officer. The Attendance Officer files a complaint against the child/parent, or both, and submits it to the Court. The Court then set a hearing date. The parent may hire an attorney if they wish, but one is not required for these hearings.
 
At the hearing, the Judge will listen to both sides. The Judge may:
(1) Dismiss the case or order no sanction.
(2) Fine the child or parent.
(3) Order the child or parent to attend a Truancy or Parenting class.
(4) Enter a Court Order listing specific requirements of the child or the parent including but not limited to tutorial programs, Driver's License Suspension, GED or Community Supervision.
    The purpose of the hearing is to delve into the complaint and require the complainant to prove the complaint, to determine whether the complaint has merit, to allow the defendant(s) an opportunity to respond, and to determine the proper course for each case.
 

Contact Information

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