Information about Criminal Cases
Juveniles Charged with Criminal Offenses
Appearance in Court Required
If you are sixteen (16) years of age or younger, the law requires that
you appear in court with a parent, guardian, or managing conservator.
A person sixteen (16) years of age or younger cannot pay the fine by mail
or in person before the appearance date.
Parent Must Appear with Juvenile
The court is required to take the plea of a person sixteen (16) years
of age or younger in open court and will issue a summons to compel the
juvenile's parent, guardian, or managing conservator to be present.
Failure of the parent to appear as required by the summons is an offense
punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.00, and may result in the arrest
of the parent.
Obligation to Provide Current Address
A juvenile and the juvenile's parent have an obligation to provide the
court with the current address and residence of the juvenile. This obligation
does not end when the juvenile reaches seventeen (17) years of age, but
continues until the case is concluded and any judgment is fully satisfied.
Notice of a new address must be given to the court, in writing, on or
before the seventh (7th) day after the date the juvenile or the juvenile's
parent changes residence.
Failure to notify the court of the current address is an offense punishable
by a fine not to exceed $500.00.
When Juveniles Become Adults
If a juvenile charged with an offense filed in the Justice Court fails
to appear in court as required, the court will issue a warning to the
juvenile when the juvenile reaches seventeen (17) years of age. The notice
will warn the individual of a continuing obligation to appear to conclude
the case. The notice will further warn that the failure to appear as required
by the notice is a criminal offense punishable by a fine not to exceed
$500.00, and will result in the issuance of an arrest warrant.
Expunction for Certain Conviction Records of Juveniles
A person convicted of not more than one offense punishable by fine only,
committed when the person was a juvenile, is entitled to request that
the record of that conviction be expunged. The request must be made on
or after the person's seventeenth (17th) birthday. The fee for filing
an Application for Expunction is $30, plus
fees for postage for notices of hearing and orders of expunction, if issued.
There are specific provisions for expunction of offenses relating to the
possession and consumption of alcohol, the possession of cigarettes and
tobacco products, and for failure to attend school.
Convictions Relating to Alcohol
Any person convicted of not more than one offense related to the purchase,
consumption, or possession of alcohol while a minor, or driving under
the influence of alcohol by a minor, or misrepresenting age, on attaining
the age of 21 years, may apply to the court in which the individual was
convicted to have the conviction expunged. If the court finds that the
applicant was not convicted of any other violation of the Alcoholic Beverage
Code while the individual was a minor, the court will order the records
relating to the offense to be expunged and the conviction may not be shown
or made known for any purpose.
Convictions Relating to Cigarettes and Tobacco Products
An individual convicted of the possession, purchase, consumption, or receipt
of cigarettes or tobacco products by a minor, may apply to the court to
have the conviction expunged. If the court finds that the individual satisfactorily
completed the tobacco awareness program or tobacco-related community service
ordered by the court, the court will order the records relating to the
offense to be expunged and the conviction may not be shown or made known
for any purpose.
Convictions Relating to Failure to Attend School
An individual convicted not more than one time for failing to attend school
may, on or after the individual's 18th birthday, apply to the court in
which the individual was convicted to have the conviction expunged. If
the court finds that the individual has not been convicted more than one
time for failing to attend school, the court will order the records relating
to the offense to be expunged and the conviction may not be shown or made
known for any purpose. A fee of $30 must be paid when the application for expunction is filed.
Information about Criminal Cases >>
This information is furnished to you to provide basic information
relative to the law governing procedures for criminal cases in the Harris
County Justice Courts.
The Harris County Justices of the Peace and the Clerks of
the Harris County Justice Courts are not allowed to give legal advice.
You are urged to review the applicable laws and to consult an attorney
of your choice for further information or answers to specific legal questions.
You have the right to a trial by a jury and to be represented
by an attorney of your choice, or to represent yourself.
Disclaimer: The law is constantly changing and there may
be times when the information on this web site will not be current. This
information is provided for general informational purposes only and is
not intended as legal advice. This information is not a comprehensive
treatment of the subject and is not a substitute for advice from an attorney.