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Juveniles: How to Behave in Court

Each year, nearly 7,000 children and teens between the ages of 10 and 17 enter the juvenile justice system in Texas. It just so happens that the Dallas County Juvenile Department is one of the largest juvenile departments in the state.

As a general rule, states handle juvenile cases differently than adult cases, at least initially. If a juvenile commits a serious crime, such as an aggravated felony, he or she may eventually be tried as an adult, but for the most part youth cases are deferred to the juvenile courts.

In Texas, juvenile offenders go through a process called “adjudication.” With adjudication, young offenders are referred to a variety of programs which are suitable to the offender’s needs and the community.

When youth are referred to the Dallas County Juvenile Department, the department does it’s best to provide the young person with the education, services, programs and opportunities necessary to help the individual rejoin society and make the right life choices.

As youth go through the adjudication process, they will be brought to court and will have to stand before a judge. It’s important that young offenders dress and act appropriately so they do not offend the judge or the courtroom staff, since doing so would not set a good tone for their case.

Appropriate Courtroom Attire & Behavior

The best way to ensure that your son or daughter dresses and acts appropriately in court is to have him or her follow these tips.

Proper courtroom attire:

  • Wear pants that fit at the waist, saggy pants are NOT permitted.
  • Do not wear cut off jeans or shorts.
  • Do not wear T-shirts, shirts that depict drugs or alcohol, or shirts that depict a violent message.
  • Do not wear clothing that is ripped, torn, or has holes.
  • For girls: no tank tops, tube tops, or shirts with spaghetti straps.
  • For girls: no tight-fitting clothing, see-through clothing, or clothing that exposes the stomach (belly shirts).
  • Do not wear pajamas or slippers.
  • Do not wear headbands, bandanas, or sunglasses.

Proper courtroom behavior:

  • Turn off all cellphones and electronic devices.
  • No food or drinks in the courtroom.
  • Do not chew gum in the courtroom.
  • Please be quiet and respectful.
  • Do not interrupt the judge.
  • Be on time for your scheduled court hearing.
  • Be polite to the judge and the courtroom staff.

Essentially, when you show up for your scheduled court hearing, you want to dress as if you’re going to church or a high school graduation. You want to be on your best behavior and be polite and respectful to everyone.

If you are under 18 and were arrested for a crime, or if you are a parent of a child or teenager who was recently arrested, we urge you to contact our office to schedule a case evaluation with one of our Plano criminal defense attorneys.

Protect your child’s rights and future – contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC!