Juveniles & Minors
If you are 16 years of age or younger and were charged with an offense filed in the City of Brownsville Municipal Court, your parent/guardian will be sent a summons to appear with you in court before the Municipal Judge. Appropriate attire is required in the courtroom. No shorts of any kind are permitted. Please note, if you fail to appear as stated, a notice will be sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety to suspend your driver's license or to prohibit you from getting one. When you appear in Court, you may request a trial date, a Driving Safety Course, Deferred Disposition or Teen Court from the judge.
Anyone 16 years of age or under, or 17 years of age or under for an alcohol-related or drug-related offense, whom is issued a citation for a Class C Misdemeanor must appear for Juvenile Teen Court. The court proceedings for Juvenile Teen Court are held once a month on Wednesday in our Main Station Courtroom at 1034 East Levee Street.
The Municipal Court Judge sets a Juvenile Teen Court hearing date and once you and your child leave the courtroom a clerk will give you an appointment card will the appropriate court date.
At the court hearing, the judge explains ways that the juvenile can resolve the citation. The parent or legal guardian and the juvenile must be present for the Judge to proceed with disposition on the citation. If the parent or legal guardian fails to appear for the court hearing date, a summons will be served to the parent or legal guardian ordering them to appear to the court.
Failure to Appear
If the juvenile fails to appear or does not comply with the judge's order after the juveniles turns 17 years of age, the juvenile and/or legal guardian may be charged with an additional violation of Failure to Appear with a maximum fine of $500 plus additional court costs. The State of Texas will be notified for the juvenile's failure to appear or lack of compliance. The State of Texas will suspend their driver's license or the juvenile will not be able to obtain their driver's license until compliance.
Article 45.057 Subsection (h) of the Code of Criminal Procedure requires that a child and parent or the person of parental relation have an obligation to provide the court, in writing, with the current address and residence of the child. On or before the 7th day after the date the child or parent changes residence, the child or parent or the person of parental relation shall notify the court of the current address. This obligation does not end when the child reached 17 years of age.
A violation of Article 45.057 subsection (h) may result in arrest and is a Class C misdemeanor.
Brownsville Municipal Court Teen Court
The Teen Court program is designed to provide a diversionary procedure for juveniles being charged with their first class "C" or traffic offense. Teen Court sessions are staffed by high school aged students and they, at their discretion, can assign defendants, who opt to participate in the Teen Court program, varying amounts of community service, counseling and/or Teen Court jury duty. This program has two aims, first to engage our youth in the justice system and to provide a diversionary method of sentencing to decrease recidivism in juvenile misdemeanor offenses.
All community service hours assigned by Teen Court are held at the Municipal Court Community Gardens Program. Community Gardens is a system of vegetable gardens that the defendants work their community service hours by tending. This program is designed to give delinquent youth a sense of ownership in their community through serving their community. In studies on recidivism, community garden programs increase the amount of green space in communities and decrease levels of crime. The program does further good by distributing all produce produced to not-for-profit agencies and other charity organizations that then proceed to distribute the food to the City's needy.
The Counseling assigned by the Teen Court program is handled through the Brownsville Independent School District's (B.I.S.D.) Department of Special Services. This department provides counseling and psychological services for the B.I.S.D. this cooperative program is designed to root out the causes that precipitated the offense and work to remove those from the child's environment.
Teen Court also promotes Civic engagement. Studies have shown that a lack of understanding of our governmental system causes apathy as well as disregard for society's regulations. Teen Court Jury Duty allows adolescents, formerly defendants in the Teen Court, to act as a jury with all the power of real juries in the Teen Court system. As a justice aspect, Teen Court is progressive in that the defendants judges in Teen Court are judged by a Judge and jury of their peers. Lawyers and Judges volunteer their time as experts in Jurisprudence teaching and advising their student counterparts but not interfering with the process of the Court.
How Teen Court Operates
Teen Court operates in exactly the same format as a trial by jury. There is a judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, bailiff and a court reporter. All of these positions have professionals employed in these fields guiding the Teen Court.
Who Can Join, When and Where
Any adolescent from the age of 13 to 18 can join Teen Court and act in any position of the Court. Teen Court encourages adolescents to learn all the different positions in the Court forming a civicly involved, informed member of society. Teen Court is not a burden on a student's schedule meeting on the second Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Municipal Court on 1034 East Levee. Teen Court does have meetings to orient the student in their position and teach them Court procedure.
For more information please call Pat Ticer at 956-574-6614, or Pat.Ticer@brownsvilletx.gov