Thanks to recently passed legislation (Senate Bill 393), students are no longer subject to citations by school officers for general acts of misbehavior—citations that previously resulted in many students being faced with Class C misdemeanors, according to The Monitor. With new laws that went into effect on Sept. 1, disciplinary action for misbehavior is now being left to school administrators. School officers will, however, still be able to issue citations for traffic violations and truancy.
According to the news story in The Monitor, "student ticketing" became a common occurrence within certain Texas school districts. Through this practice, students could be cited for problems such as being disruptive in class, getting in fights at school and using inappropriate language. Here's how it used to work—the officers would charge students with Class C misdemeanors, which would require the minors to go before a judge. Upon findings of guilt, the students would be issued fines amounting to $500 and there would be a chance of the offenses appearing on their criminal records. Furthermore, students who failed to pay the fines could end up being arrested upon turning 17 years of age, according to the article. The Monitor cited data from the Texas Supreme Court, noting about 300,000 Texas students each year are cited for behavior considered to be Class C misdemeanors.
With the changes from the new legislation, school officers can still file complaints about students' wrongdoing, but the final decision of whether to charge a student with a misdemeanor will now have to be made by a local prosecutor. Furthermore, if students are charged, prosecutors can opt for alternative penalties, such as requirements for community service, counseling or tutoring.
The new legislation has been praised by McAllen Independent School District Police Chief Cris Esquivel Jr., according to The Monitor. He noted that his department assists with matters of misbehavior on school campuses but has not been in the practice of issuing student tickets.
Legislators' decision to do away with student ticketing law will likely help many young people throughout the state of Texas avoid having needless juvenile offenses on their records. Instead, these students will have the chance to take advantage of solutions that can potentially help them work through their behavior problems. There are still, however, many other scenarios in which juveniles and adults can end up facing criminal charges. If you are in this kind of situation in or around McAllen, Texas, make sure that you obtain representation from a skilled McAllen criminal defense lawyer. At our criminal defense law firm,
Guerra & Farah, PLLC we have competent attorneys who have decades of combined experience practicing law.
Contact our firm to learn more about how we can help you!