Juvenile Defendants: Procedures
AGE: State law defines juvenile defendants as defendants under the age of 17. Once a person turns 17, the law regards him/her as an adult in criminal matters, including the Class C misdemeanors handled by El Paso Municipal Court.
APPEARANCE REQUIREMENT: State law requires juvenile defendants to appear, in person, before the judge to hear an explanation of the charges and of the options available to them, and to enter a plea. State law also requires that the juvenile defendant appear with his/her parent or legal guardian. Both the defendant and parent/legal guardian must be present at all court proceedings. The court is prohibited from accepting the payment of a fine from a juvenile defendant prior to his/her appearance before the judge.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY ENFORCEMENT: If a juvenile fails to appear at arraignment, trial or other court hearings as ordered by the judge, the court will notify the Department of Public Safety in Austin. DPS then will take actions to deny the driver’s license of the juvenile defendant. The court also will notify the Department of Public Safety in Austin if the juvenile fails to fulfill his/her sentencing requirement by paying the stipulated fine, by failing to complete the required community service within the time stipulated, or by failing to complete a Court ordered education class. DPS then will take actions to deny the driver’s license of the juvenile.
NOTIFICATION TO PARENT/LEGAL GUARDIAN: The Court notifies the parent/legal guardian by mail when the juvenile receives a citation or a criminal complaint is filed. The Court also notifies the parent/legal guardian of the date of all court proceedings scheduled for the juvenile. The name and address of the parent/legal guardian used by the Court are the name and address the juvenile provided to the issuing officer.
Alcohol/Tobacco Violations: State law (Sec. 106.115 Alcoholic Beverage Code and Sec 161.252 of the Health and Safety Code) requires that all minors complete the alcohol education program for minors or the tobacco cessation class. The class must be completed and the proof of completion-the certificate-returned to the court within 90 days of the date of the sentence. Registration in a class must be done immediately to avoid delays and receive the certificate on time. Failure to comply with the court's orders will result in the suspension of the defendant's driver's license.
CONTACT NUMBER: The Court understands that juveniles and their parents may have questions regarding Court procedures. Please contact the Sentencing Coordinator or a deputy court clerk at 546-2940 or 546-2943.