Anyone under the age of 17 is considered a juvenile. Juveniles must appear in open court with a parent or legal guardian. Learn more about Court procedures.
Coming to Court and Responding to a Citation
Juveniles follow a different Court process than adult defendants. Juveniles must appear in open court and cannot pay for their fines online.
After the Court receives your citation, you and your parent/guardian will be mailed Court notices to your address provided on the citation for your upcoming court date. You will receive notices by both regular and certified mail. Please read the notices as to what action needs to be made before your scheduled court date if any.
Upon reviewing the case with the prosecutor, the Juvenile Case Manager will contact you prior to your court date to schedule an intake meeting if you fit the criteria for the Pre-Trial Diversion Program. If there is no phone number on the citation, the Juvenile Case Manager will send notice requesting to contact the Juvenile Case Manager to schedule an intake meeting. The intake meeting takes roughly one hour to complete and can only be done in person. The Juvenile Case Manager will gather information from the juvenile and family to better assess the case. Following the intake, the Juvenile Case Manager will explain the different options available to the juvenile. If juvenile agrees to participate in the Diversion Program, JCM will set the case on the next available juvenile docket. The juvenile and parent will then go before the judge to sign the Diversion Agreement Order.
Pre-Trial Diversion Program
Pursuant to Texas Family Code §52.031, a defendant under the age of 17 may participate in a Diversion, or First Offender, Program for the referral and disposition of a citation prior to it being filed with the Court. The juvenile defendant is eligible to participate in this program if they meet the criteria outlined below:
- The charge is a first offense for a non-traffic violation (except assaultive offenses); or
- The charge is a first offense involving an assault that has been approved by the municipal court prosecutor; or
- The charge is a first offense for a violation of the City of Baytown Code of Ordinances; and
- The Class C Misdemeanor charge did not result in any additional charges being filed in a higher court.
The defendant will have an individualized case plan and ongoing communication with the Juvenile Case Manager throughout their participation in the Diversion Program. Upon successful completion of the Diversion Program, the charge against them will be dismissed and the defendant will not appear in open Court. If the defendant does not complete the Diversion Program, the case against them will be filed with the Court and they will be required to appear in open Court to answer to the charges.
The Judge will explain the Court process and expectations for defendants while in Court. The Judge will call each defendant and parent/guardian one at a time to approach the bench. At this time, the defendant will answer to the charges filed against them. The defendant may plead Guilty, Nolo Contendere (No Contest), or Not Guilty.
If the defendant pleads "Not Guilty," they will be able to speak with the Prosecutor.
If the defendant pleads "Guilty" or "Nolo Contendere," they should be prepared to discuss how they would like to resolve the citation.
After speaking with the Judge, the defendant and parent/guardian will exit the Courtroom and proceed to the front window where a clerk will process the Judge’s Order and provide paperwork to the defendant and parent/guardian.
If the defendant pleads "Guilty" or "Nolo Contendere," they have the option to make one of the following requests:
If the defendant has the means to do so, they may request to pay the citation. They may choose to pay in full that day, request an extension to pay, or request a payment plan. The Judge has the ability to grant or deny the defendant’s request.
Note: It is ultimately the defendant’s responsibility to pay the citation, if they choose to do so. Parents/Guardians are in no way obligated to pay for their child’s citation.
The defendant may request to pay the fine through the Court's RAP Community Service program.
The defendant may request to be placed on deferred disposition. They must comply with all of the conditions of the agreement in order for the case to be dismissed. If the defendant fails to comply with the conditions of deferred disposition, a fine will be assessed (if money is owed) and a conviction will be reported on the defendant's record.
Note: Anyone under 25 years of age who requests deferred disposition for a moving violation is required by Texas law to complete a driving safety course as a condition.
Driving Safety Course
If the defendant is charged with a moving violation, they may be able to request a driving safety course to dismiss the charge. The defendant must present a valid Texas driver’s license, proof of insurance, and pay court costs prior to taking the driving safety course. The defendant must present their certificate and certified driving record to the Court in order for the case to be dismissed.
Alcohol and Tobacco Offenses
Anyone under the age of 21 and charged with an alcohol or tobacco related offense is required to appear in open court and do the following:
Alcohol- first time offense
- Attend an 8 hour alcohol awareness course
- Complete 8-12 hours of alcohol related community service
Tobacco- first time offense
- Attend an 8 hour tobacco awareness course
Additional requirements may be issued by the Judge.
Fail to Appear or Pay Fine
Juveniles who fail to appear in open court or fail to pay their fine will be reported to the Department of Public Safety. Their driver’s license will be suspended or they will be denied the issuance of a driver’s license until the fine has been paid in full.
Juveniles may be eligible to have their records expunged after turning 21 years of age. There is a fee associated with this request. For more information, please contact the Court.