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How Do I Get My Child Out of Juvenile Detention?

By Kristi Tyler

Can I bond my child out of juvenile detention?  The short answer is, “No.”  Unlike a criminal case, you cannot post bond on a juvenile case.  This is just one of the many ways that a juvenile case is different from an adult criminal case.

You will soon discover many purposeful differences between the juvenile and the adult system, including the terms that are used.  For instance, your child is not arrested, but detained.  Additionally, the court will refer to your child as a juvenile respondent, not a defendant.  These terms reflect the goal of the juvenile justice system – to treat children differently — because they are children, not miniature adults.

The first step after your child is detained is to attend his or her juvenile detention hearing.  Texas Family Code Section 54.01(a) requires that a detention hearing must be conducted no later than the second working day after the juvenile is taken into custody.  If your child is detained on a Friday or Saturday, then the hearing will be conducted on the next working day after detention.

At this detention hearing, the judge will determine two things. 

First, the judge will determine whether there is probable cause to hold your child in detention for a crime; for conduct that indicates a need for supervision; or, for violation of court-ordered probation. 

Second, the court will determine if your child can be released to your custody, or if your child should remain in detention.

In making this determination, the court considers five factors found in Texas Family Code §54.01(e) :

  1. Is your child likely to abscond or be removed from the jurisdiction of the court?
  2. Is suitable supervision, care, or protection being provided by a parent, guardian, custodian, or other person?
  3. Does the child have no parent, guardian, custodian, or other person able to return him to the court when required?
  4. Is your child a danger to himself or may he threaten the safety of the public if released?; or
  5. Has your child previously been adjudicated for delinquent conduct and is he likely to commit an offense if released?

The court must release your child unless it finds both probable cause and finds one of these five factors to be true.  Having a plan in place to supervise your child and address the court’s concerns is always a great first step.  If your child is released, he will also be given a list of conditions to follow, called “conditions of release.”  As the parent, you must ensure that these conditions are followed.

If the court detains your child, another detention hearing will be held in ten working days to determine whether continued detention is still needed.  This is a good time to consult with an attorney who can walk you through next steps, help you formulate a plan for release, and start preparing your child’s defense.