Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Talks about Legislation That Could Change the Minimum Age for Prosecution

Did you know that only seven states prosecute seventeen-year-olds as adults? Did you know that Texas is one of those states? It’s true. In Texas, a seventeen-year-old who gets charged with a crime can be prosecuted as an adult and sent to serve their sentence along with the adult population in the county jail. That could change soon, though, if two recently introduced bills pass. The bills would change the age of adulthood in Texas to eighteen, which is also the federally recognized age of adulthood, as set by a series of decisions by the United States Supreme Court.

Changing the age of adulthood to eighteen could impact a lot of lives. For example, over twenty thousand individuals who would have been considered juveniles got prosecuted as adults in Texas in 2015. Raising the age of adulthood would result in an increase in juvenile arrests that matches the decrease in adult arrests, which would in turn place a greater demand on the juvenile justice system while reducing the number of individuals in the adult prison system. Proponents of the bills say that the overall effect over time could be a reduction in the demand on both the juvenile justice system and the adult prison system due to the participation of juvenile offenders in rehabilitation programs which would reduce the likelihood that the will commit additional offenses as juveniles and as adults. If the bills pass, there would also be an immediate effect of relief on county jails throughout the state, because under current law seventeen-year-old inmates are not permitted to be housed with the general inmate population. The current situation puts a strain on available space, human resources, and financial resources, where changing the age of adulthood would provide those resources for seventeen-year-old offenders through the state’s juvenile facilities.

The types of offenses that most seventeen-year-olds get arrested for in Texas are nonviolent crimes like possession of marijuana and misdemeanor theft. When juveniles who commit these offenses engage in rehabilitation programs that are made available to them through the juvenile justice system, they often become healthier and more successful overall, and more likely to avoid future offenses

Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Alex Tyra – Working Hard to Protect the Rights of Texas Defendants

A change in the age of adulthood could result in a change in the way that your case gets handled if you are seventeen years old when you get arrested. Whatever your age, know that you do not have to navigate the juvenile justice system or the adult criminal justice system alone. If you have been arrested, it is likely that you have many questions and concerns. An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney can help you protect your rights and understand the processes and procedures that apply to your case. To learn more, please call Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Alex Tyra, at (903) 753-7499. Alternatively, you may contact us online through our convenient online contact form.

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