Juvenile Offenses

The Municipal Court has jurisdiction over all juveniles 10 to 16 years old that are charged with Class C misdemeanor offenses. This excludes public intoxication offenses.

All juveniles and their parent(s) are required to appear in open court for all proceedings in their cases.

Failure to Appear

Juveniles who fail to appear in court may have an additional charge of failure to appear filed against them. Juveniles who fail to appear or pay their fine will be reported to the Department of Public Safety, who will suspend their driver’s license. If they do not have a driver’s license, they will not be able to obtain one until they appear in court.

JUVENILE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

You have been charged with a Class C misdemeanor criminal offense(s).  You will be in court.  No talking is allowed.  Should the bailiff escort you out of the court, you will not be allowed to return today and will be marked as a “No Show.”  When your name is called, you and your parent(s)/guardian(s) should come to the front of the court and stand before the bench.  You will be asked if you understand the charge and how you plead.  State law requires that a parent or guardian be present with you unless you have reached 17 years or age, unless the case is an alcohol offense, and that requires a parent or guardian appearance until you are 18.

You may enter a plea of Not Guilty, No Contest or Guilty  On a plea of:

NOT GUILTY A plea of Not Guilty  states you are not guilty of the charge as filed.  If you plead Not Guilty, a trial date will be set for a Jury Trial or Trial before a Judge.  You are required to appear for trial along with a parent(s)/guardian(s) even if you are represented by an attorney.   Should you be found Not Guilty, you will be released at that time from the charge against you.  Should you be found Guilty, your fine will be in an amount not to exceed the legal limits provided by law plus costs per violation.

NO CONTEST:  A plea of No Contest states you are waiving your right to a trial and are not contesting the charges filed.  If you plead No Contest, a finding of Guilty will be entered by the court and a fine will be assessed.

GUILTY A plea of Guilty states you are waiving your right to a jury trial and are guilty of the charges as filed.  The fine and costs on a plea of Guilty are the same as a plea of No Contest.  A Guilty plea may adversely affect you in the event a civil action is brought against you (e.g. an accident, assault, etc.)

OPTIONS FOR SATISFYING A CLASS C MISDEMEANOR CITATION

DEFERRED DISPOSITION:  Deferred Disposition is an alternative to the Driver’s Safety Course for moving violations and is available for most other offenses, except for traffic offenses occurring in a construction zone or if you held a commercial driver’s license on the date of offense.  State law requires that persons under the age of 25 must also take a Driver’s Safety Course for moving violations and present proof to the court within the probation period.  Upon successful completion of the 90-day probation period, the violation will be dismissed after a required form is signed and returned.  You must enter a plea of Guilty or No Contest and pay the State Costs and the Special Expense Fee on the day the judge grants Deferred Disposition.  The Special Expense Fee is equal to the amount of the fine.  If you fail to appear in court for any scheduled court date, you may still request Deferred Disposition; however, you may be required to pay both the maximum Special Expense Fee and the State Costs on the day the Deferred Disposition is granted.  You may contact the Court Clerk’s Office to determine the correct total fee and costs.

DRIVER’S SAFETY COURSE Plead Guilty or No Contest, pay State Costs and Administrative Fee today. You may be eligible for Driver’s Safety Course (DSC) if you have a valid Texas driver’s license, are covered by insurance, and have not taken DSC (this does not include your driving training course) within the past 12 months.

Judgment will be deferred for 90 days to allow you time to complete the requirements to prevent a conviction on your record.  The following documentation must be returned to the Court on or before the 90th  day.

  1. An approved Texas Education Agency course certificate;
  2. Certified copy of your driving record from Austin; and
  3. Notarized Affidavit

You are not eligible to request the Driver’s Safety Course if you

  • Have been charged with speeding 25 mph or more over the speed limit
  • Failure to leave identification at an accident where an attended vehicle was involved
  • Passing a school bus
  • Hold or held a Commercial driver’s license on the date of the offense
  • Have been charged with the offense of failure to obey warning signs within a construction or maintenance work zone when workers were present; or
  • Failed to appear in court for a scheduled court date

(Registration, inspection, insurance, seat belt, and equipment violations are not moving violations.)  If you are charged with either a registration or inspection offense you may present proof to the court of  renewal within 10 working days of the citation for a reduced fine amount.  Insurance purchased after the offense is not accepted.  All offers of proof of insurance coverage on the date of the ticket will be verified with the company before a dismissal will be entered.  Presentation of proof of false coverage could result in further more serious criminal charges.

TOBACCO VIOLATIONS (Under 18 years of age) If you have a tobacco violation and you do not wish to have a trial, you must appear in juvenile court with your parent/guardian and plead Guilty or No Contest.  You will be required to pay the State costs, perform 25 hours of tobacco-related community service, complete a Tobacco Awareness Program  and submit a Certificate of  Completion within 90 days  for the case to be dismissed with no conviction (only for the first offense).  If you have a subsequent tobacco violation, and you do not wish to have a trial, you will be required to pay a fine and State costs on the date the plea is entered and perform 50 hours of tobacco-related community service within 90 days.  This will result in a conviction.  Failure to complete the requirements will result in a citation for Contempt of Court which can be an additional $500 maximum fine.

ALCOHOL VIOLATIONS (Under 21 years of age):  If you have an alcohol violation and you do not wish to have a trial, you must appear in Juvenile Court with your parent/guardian (parent/guardian required if under the age of 18) plead Guilty or No Contest.  You will be required to pay State costs, perform 25 hours of alcohol-related community service, complete an Alcohol Awareness Program, and submit a Certificate of Completion within 90 days for  the case to be dismissed with no conviction (only for the first offense).  If you have a subsequent alcohol violation, and you do not wish to have a trial, you will be required to pay a fine and State costs on the date the plea is entered and perform 50 hours of alcohol-related community service within 90 days.  This will result in a conviction.  Failure to complete the requirements will result in a citation for Contempt of Court which can be an additional $500 maximum fine.

Caution:  If you do not complete disposition in the time allowed for any case prosecuted in the City of Duncanville, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) in Austin will be notified immediately, and it is the policy of DPS to suspend a minor’s driver’s license until the disposition is completed, or, in the event the minor does not have a driver’s license, DPS policy is refusal to issue one until the disposition is completed.  Further, failure to complete disposition will result in a contempt hearing.

PARENT AND CHILD

A Parent and Child required to appear before the 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.  On or before the 7th day after the date the child or parent changes residence, the child or parent shall notify the court of the current address in the manner directed by the court.  A violation of this subsection of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure may result in arrest and is a Class C misdemeanor.  The obligation to provide notice terminates on discharge and satisfaction of the judgment or final disposition not requiring a finding of guilt.  (Article 45.057(h) Texas C.C.P.