JuvenilesThe municipal court has jurisdiction over juveniles (under age 17) charged with most Class C misdemeanor offenses except Sec. 49.02, Penal Code, public intoxication, and the following traffic offenses: Sec. 502.282, Transportation Code, registration with amateur radio plates; Sec. 502.412, Transportation Code, operating a vehicle at a weight greater than the registration application; Sec. 550.021, Transportation Code, accident involving personal injury or death; Sec. 550.022, Transportation Code, accident involving damage to vehicle; and Sec. 550.024, Transportation Code, duty on striking unattended vehicle. All juveniles are required to appear in open court for all proceedings in their cases. The parent of a juvenile charged in municipal court must be present in court with their child. Juveniles who fail to appear in court may have an additional charge of failure to appear filed against them. Juveniles who fail to appear or who fail to pay their fine will be reported to the Department of Public Safety who will suspend or deny issuance of a driver's license. If a juvenile disobeys a court order, the court may order DPS to suspend or deny issuance of a driver's license or find the child in contempt of court and asses a fine not to exceed $500.00, or refer the child to juvenile court for contempt.
Notice to Children and Parents
Article 45.057(j), Code of Criminal Procedure, provides:
- A child and parent required to appear before the Court have an obligation to provide the Court in writing with the current address and residence of the child.
- The obligation does not end when the child reaches age 17.
- On or before the seventh day after the date the child or parent changes residence (any place where the child lives or resides for a period of at least 30 days), the child or parent shall notify the Court of the current address in writing at: 305 Miller's Crossing, Harker Heights, Texas 76548.
- Failure to provide notice is a Class C misdemeanor and may result in arrest.
- The obligation to provide notice terminates on discharge and satisfaction of the judgment of final disposition not requiring a finding of guilt.
- If an appellate Court accepts an appeal for a trial de novo, the child and parent shall provide the notice to the appellate Court.
The Harker Heights Municipal Court has conducted a Teen Court program since before 1979. In 1989, the Texas Legislature passed the first enabling legislation. The current statutory provisions for the teen court program can be found in Article 45.052, Code of Criminal Procedures.
Teen court is a form of deferred disposition and is intended to offer juvenile offenders the opportunity to dispose of their cases without having a conviction on their records.
To qualify for the teen court program, a juvenile offender must first appear with a parent in open court; enter a plea of guilty or nolo contendere; and request teen court. The teen may then be referred to Teen Court. A teen jury, composed of the defendant's peers, hears the case and sets punishment according to a schedule approved by the Harker Heights Municipal Court. Punishment consist of performing community service and serving as a teen juror.
Upon successful completion of the program, the charge(s) filed against the defendant will be dismissed. If the defendant fails to complete the requirements of the teen court or fails to meet the standards of the teen court, the defendant will be returned to municipal court; removed from the program; a guilty finding will be entered; and the fine will become due.
A teen defendant may only attend teen court once every two years. Teen court is a privilege, not a right, and is not offered for all offenses.
For a list of helpful numbers and programs for parents
and children click the image above or the link below: