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Failure to Attend School
Summons for Parent or Person Standing in Parental Relation (“Parent”)
Pleas are "not guilty," "guilty," or "no contest."
The plea of a defendant younger than 17 years old must be made in open court, with the defendant’s parent present.
If the defendant enters a plea “not guilty,” the case will be set for trial. The defendant may waive the right to a trial by jury and have the case heard by the court. At the request of the defendant, the court will subpoena a witness on the defendant’s behalf, but the name, address, and telephone number of each witness must be furnished to the court prior to trial. The defendant may be required to attend a pre-trial conference.
Refusal to enter a plea will result in the entry of a “not guilty” plea by the court and the case will be set for a jury trial unless that right is waived.
A defendant charged with “failure to attend school” will have the opportunity to review their case with a prosecutor, who may enter into a diversion agreement with the student.
On a plea of “guilty” or “no contest” the court will make a finding of guilt and assess a fine as punishment.
On a plea of “guilty” or “no contest,” evidence or documents may be presented to the court and mitigating circumstances that may affect punishment may be explained.
Defendants have a responsibility to notify the court of any change of address.
You may request documents and evidence in your case from the State by following the discovery procedures set out in Art. 39.14 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. ("Discovery" is the process by which the defendant may request evidence related to the case from the State.)
A person seeking to have the record expunged must submit a written request under oath, to the court in which the person was convicted. The request may be submitted on or after the person’s 18th birthday and must include the following statement: “I have not been convicted of more than one violation of Failure to Attend School, §25.094 of the Texas Education.”
A fee of $30 must be paid when the application for expunction is filed.
A court must expunge a conviction for “failure to attend school” regardless of whether there was a previous conviction if (1) the court finds that the individual has successfully complied with the conditions imposed by the court, or (2) before the individual’s 21st birthday, the individual presents to the court proof that the individual has obtained a high school diploma or a high school equivalency certificate.
Texas Code of Crim. Proc. art. 45.055
The court may enter an order requiring the defendant and the defendant’s parent to attend a class for students at risk of dropping out of school.
On a plea of “guilty” or “no contest,” or on a finding of guilt, the judge will convict the defendant, assessing a fine and directing the satisfaction of the judgment.
Texas Code of Crim. Proc. art. 45.041.
If the defendant was a child at the time the offense was committed and discharging the fine and costs in any manner would impose an undue hardship on the defendant, the court may waive payment of a fine or costs imposed on a defendant who defaults in payment.
Texas Code of Crim. Proc. art. 45.0491.
This information is furnished to you to provide basic information relative to the law governing procedures for Failure to Attend School and Parent Contributing to Failure to Attend School 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.