What is the sentence for a juvenile who commits armed robbery in Texas?
According to Texas law, a “juvenile” is a person who was at least 10 years old but not yet 17 at the time he or she committed an act defined as “delinquent conduct” or “conduct in need of supervision (CINS).”
A juvenile who engages in delinquent conduct or commits a CINS violation can be referred to juvenile court, where several things can happen. The juvenile can be dealt with informally and returned home.
If the county decides to charge the juvenile with delinquent conduct, the juvenile is afforded the same legal rights as an adult charged with a crime. In certain circumstances, the county can request to have a youth certified as an adult. If such is granted, the person is considered an adult for criminal purposes and will no longer be in the juvenile justice system. The rest of this overview does not apply to persons certified as adults.
If the juvenile is “adjudicated” for delinquent conduct, there are several possible disposition options, or outcomes, as follows:
The juvenile may be placed on probation; or
The juvenile may be sent to the Texas Youth Commission with an indeterminate sentence (only felony offenses); or
The juvenile may be sent to the Texas Youth Commission with a determinate sentence (only certain offenses).
A juvenile who is placed on probation (and not sent to TYC) must be discharged from the probation by the time he or she turns 18.
A juvenile sent to TYC with an indeterminate sentence must be discharged by the time he or she turns 19.
A juvenile sent to TYC with a determinate sentence may be transferred to adult prison depending on his or her behavior and progress in TYC programs.
According to the Texas Penal Code, armed robbery or aggravated robbery is defined as:
"§ 29.03. AGGRAVATED ROBBERY. (a) A person commits an offense if he commits robbery as defined in Section 29.02, and he:
(1) causes serious bodily injury to another;
(2) uses or exhibits a deadly weapon; or
(3) causes bodily injury to another person or threatens or places another person in fear of imminent bodily injury or death, if the other person is:
(A) 65 years of age or older; or
(B) a disabled person.
(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the first degree.
(c) In this section, "disabled person" means an individual with a mental, physical, or developmental disability who is substantially unable to protect himself from harm.
Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974.
Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 357, § 2, eff. Sept. 1,
1989; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, § 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994."
Since aggravated robbery is considered a first degree felony, the juvenile court must follow Texas Family Code 54.04 which states in part:
(3) if the court or jury found at the conclusion of the adjudication hearing that the child engaged in delinquent conduct that included a violation of a penal law listed in Section 53.045(a) and if the petition was approved by the grand jury under Section 53.045, the court or jury may sentence the child to commitment in the Texas Youth Commission with a possible transfer to the institutional division or the pardons and paroles division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for a term of:
(A) not more than 40 years if the conduct
(i) a capital felony;
(ii) a felony of the first degree; or
(iii) an aggravated controlled substance felony;
(B) not more than 20 years if the conduct constitutes a felony of the second degree; or
(C) not more than 10 years if the conduct constitutes a felony of the third degree;
(4) the court may assign the child an appropriate sanction level and sanctions as provided by the assignment guidelines in Section 59.003; or
(5) if applicable, the court or jury may make a disposition under Subsection (m).