Texas Family Code
Sec. § 54.04
Disposition Hearing


(a)

The disposition hearing shall be separate, distinct, and subsequent to the adjudication hearing. There is no right to a jury at the disposition hearing unless the child is in jeopardy of a determinate sentence under Subsection (d)(3) or (m), in which case, the child is entitled to a jury of 12 persons to determine the sentence, but only if the child so elects in writing before the commencement of the voir dire examination of the jury panel. If a finding of delinquent conduct is returned, the child may, with the consent of the attorney for the state, change the child’s election of one who assesses the disposition.

(b)

At the disposition hearing, the juvenile court, notwithstanding the Texas Rules of Evidence or Chapter 37 (The Verdict), Code of Criminal Procedure, may consider written reports from probation officers, professional court employees, or professional consultants in addition to the testimony of witnesses. On or before the second day before the date of the disposition hearing, the court shall provide the attorney for the child and the prosecuting attorney with access to all written matter to be considered by the court in disposition. The court may order counsel not to reveal items to the child or the child’s parent, guardian, or guardian ad litem if such disclosure would materially harm the treatment and rehabilitation of the child or would substantially decrease the likelihood of receiving information from the same or similar sources in the future.

(c)

No disposition may be made under this section unless the child is in need of rehabilitation or the protection of the public or the child requires that disposition be made. If the court or jury does not so find, the court shall dismiss the child and enter a final judgment without any disposition. No disposition placing the child on probation outside the child’s home may be made under this section unless the court or jury finds that the child, in the child’s home, cannot be provided the quality of care and level of support and supervision that the child needs to meet the conditions of the probation.

(d)

If the court or jury makes the finding specified in Subsection (c) allowing the court to make a disposition in the case:

(1)

the court or jury may, in addition to any order required or authorized under Section 54.041 (Orders Affecting Parents and Others) or 54.042 (License Suspension), place the child on probation on such reasonable and lawful terms as the court may determine:

(A)

in the child’s own home or in the custody of a relative or other fit person; or

(B)

subject to the finding under Subsection (c) on the placement of the child outside the child’s home, in:

(i)

a suitable foster home;

(ii)

a suitable public or private residential treatment facility licensed by a state governmental entity or exempted from licensure by state law, except a facility operated by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department; or

(iii)

a suitable public or private post-adjudication secure correctional facility that meets the requirements of Section 51.125 (Post-adjudication Correctional Facilities), except a facility operated by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department;

(2)

if the court or jury found at the conclusion of the adjudication hearing that the child engaged in delinquent conduct that violates a penal law of this state or the United States of the grade of felony, the court or jury made a special commitment finding under Section 54.04013 (Special Commitment to Texas Juvenile Justice Department), and the petition was not approved by the grand jury under Section 53.045 (Offenses Eligible for Determinate Sentence), the court may commit the child to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department under Section 54.04013 (Special Commitment to Texas Juvenile Justice Department), or a post-adjudication secure correctional facility under Section 54.04011(c)(1), as applicable, without a determinate sentence;

(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 (Offenses Eligible for Determinate Sentence)(a) and if the petition was approved by the grand jury under Section 53.045 (Offenses Eligible for Determinate Sentence), the court or jury may sentence the child to commitment in the Texas Juvenile Justice Department or a post-adjudication secure correctional facility under Section 54.04011(c)(2) with a possible transfer to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for a term of:

(A)

not more than 40 years if the conduct constitutes:

(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 (Sanction Level Assignment Model);

(5)

the court may place the child in a suitable nonsecure correctional facility that is registered and meets the applicable standards for the facility as provided by Section 51.126 (Nonsecure Correctional Facilities); or

(6)

if applicable, the court or jury may make a disposition under Subsection (m) or Section 54.04011(c)(2)(A).

(e)

The Texas Juvenile Justice Department shall accept a person properly committed to it by a juvenile court even though the person may be 17 years of age or older at the time of commitment.

(f)

The court shall state specifically in the order its reasons for the disposition and shall furnish a copy of the order to the child. If the child is placed on probation, the terms of probation shall be written in the order.

(g)

If the court orders a disposition under Subsection (d)(3) or (m) and there is an affirmative finding that the defendant used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the commission of the conduct or during immediate flight from commission of the conduct, the court shall enter the finding in the order. If there is an affirmative finding that the deadly weapon was a firearm, the court shall enter that finding in the order.

(h)

At the conclusion of the dispositional hearing, the court shall inform the child of:

(1)

the child’s right to appeal, as required by Section 56.01 (Right to Appeal); and

(2)

the procedures for the sealing of the child’s records under Subchapter C-1, Chapter 58 (Records; Juvenile Justice Information System).

(i)

If the court places the child on probation outside the child’s home or commits the child to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, the court:

(1)

shall include in its order its determination that:

(A)

it is in the child’s best interests to be placed outside the child’s home;

(B)

reasonable efforts were made to prevent or eliminate the need for the child’s removal from the home and to make it possible for the child to return to the child’s home; and

(C)

the child, in the child’s home, cannot be provided the quality of care and level of support and supervision that the child needs to meet the conditions of probation; and

(2)

may approve an administrative body to conduct permanency hearings pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section 675 if required during the placement or commitment of the child.

(j)

If the court or jury found that the child engaged in delinquent conduct that included a violation of a penal law of the grade of felony or jailable misdemeanor, the court:

(1)

shall require that the child’s thumbprint be affixed or attached to the order; and

(2)

may require that a photograph of the child be attached to the order.

(k)

Except as provided by Subsection (m), the period to which a court or jury may sentence a person to commitment to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department with a transfer to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice under Subsection (d)(3) applies without regard to whether the person has previously been adjudicated as having engaged in delinquent conduct.

(l)

Except as provided by Subsection (q), a court or jury may place a child on probation under Subsection (d)(1) for any period, except that probation may not continue on or after the child’s 18th birthday. Except as provided by Subsection (q), the court may, before the period of probation ends, extend the probation for any period, except that the probation may not extend to or after the child’s 18th birthday.

(m)

The court or jury may sentence a child adjudicated for habitual felony conduct as described by Section 51.031 (Habitual Felony Conduct) to a term prescribed by Subsection (d)(3) and applicable to the conduct adjudicated in the pending case if:

(1)

a petition was filed and approved by a grand jury under Section 53.045 (Offenses Eligible for Determinate Sentence) alleging that the child engaged in habitual felony conduct; and

(2)

the court or jury finds beyond a reasonable doubt that the allegation described by Subdivision (1) in the grand jury petition is true.

(n)

A court may order a disposition of secure confinement of a status offender adjudicated for violating a valid court order only if:

(1)

before the order is issued, the child received the full due process rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States or the Texas Constitution; and

(2)

the juvenile probation department in a report authorized by Subsection (b):

(A)

reviewed the behavior of the child and the circumstances under which the child was brought before the court;

(B)

determined the reasons for the behavior that caused the child to be brought before the court; and

(C)

determined that all dispositions, including treatment, other than placement in a secure detention facility or secure correctional facility, have been exhausted or are clearly inappropriate.

(o)

In a disposition under this title:

(1)

a status offender may not, under any circumstances, be committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department for engaging in conduct that would not, under state or local law, be a crime if committed by an adult;

(2)

a status offender may not, under any circumstances other than as provided under Subsection (n), be placed in a post-adjudication secure correctional facility; and

(3)

a child adjudicated for contempt of a county, justice, or municipal court order may not, under any circumstances, be placed in a post-adjudication secure correctional facility or committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department for that conduct.

(p)

Except as provided by Subsection (l), a court that places a child on probation under Subsection (d)(1) for conduct described by Section 54.0405 (Child Placed on Probation for Conduct Constituting Sexual Offense)(b) and punishable as a felony shall specify a minimum probation period of two years.

(q)

If a court or jury sentences a child to commitment in the Texas Juvenile Justice Department or a post-adjudication secure correctional facility under Subsection (d)(3) for a term of not more than 10 years, the court or jury may place the child on probation under Subsection (d)(1) as an alternative to making the disposition under Subsection (d)(3). The court shall prescribe the period of probation ordered under this subsection for a term of not more than 10 years. The court may, before the sentence of probation expires, extend the probationary period under Section 54.05 (Hearing to Modify Disposition), except that the sentence of probation and any extension may not exceed 10 years. The court may, before the child’s 19th birthday, discharge the child from the sentence of probation. If a sentence of probation ordered under this subsection and any extension of probation ordered under Section 54.05 (Hearing to Modify Disposition) will continue after the child’s 19th birthday, the court shall discharge the child from the sentence of probation on the child’s 19th birthday unless the court transfers the child to an appropriate district court under Section 54.051 (Transfer of Determinate Sentence Probation to Appropriate District Court).

(r)

If the judge orders a disposition under this section and there is an affirmative finding that the victim or intended victim was younger than 17 years of age at the time of the conduct, the judge shall enter the finding in the order.

(s)

Repealed by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 263, Sec. 64(1), eff. June 8, 2007.

(t)

Repealed by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 263, Sec. 64(1), eff. June 8, 2007.

(u)

For the purposes of disposition under Subsection (d)(2), delinquent conduct that violates a penal law of this state of the grade of felony does not include conduct that violates a lawful order of a county, municipal, justice, or juvenile court under circumstances that would constitute contempt of that court.

(v)

If the judge orders a disposition under this section for delinquent conduct based on a violation of an offense, on the motion of the attorney representing the state the judge shall make an affirmative finding of fact and enter the affirmative finding in the papers in the case if the judge determines that, regardless of whether the conduct at issue is the subject of the prosecution or part of the same criminal episode as the conduct that is the subject of the prosecution, a victim in the trial:

(1)

is or has been a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons, as defined by 22 U.S.C. Section 7102(8); or

(2)

has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity described by 8 U.S.C. Section 1101(a)(15)(U)(iii).

(w)

That part of the papers in the case containing an affirmative finding under Subsection (v):

(1)

must include specific information identifying the victim, as available;

(2)

may not include information identifying the victim’s location; and

(3)

is confidential, unless written consent for the release of the affirmative finding is obtained from the victim or, if the victim is younger than 18 years of age, the victim’s parent or guardian.

(x)

A child may be detained in an appropriate detention facility following disposition of the child’s case under Subsection (d) or (m) pending:

(1)

transportation of the child to the ordered placement; and

(2)

the provision of medical or other health care services for the child that may be advisable before transportation, including health care services for children in the late term of pregnancy.

(y)

A juvenile court conducting a hearing under this section involving a child for whom the Department of Family and Protective Services has been appointed managing conservator may communicate with the court having continuing jurisdiction over the child before the disposition hearing. The juvenile court may allow the parties to the suit affecting the parent-child relationship in which the Department of Family and Protective Services is a party to participate in the communication under this subsection.

(z)

Nothing in this section may be construed to prohibit a juvenile court or jury in a county to which Section 54.04011 applies from committing a child to a post-adjudication secure correctional facility in accordance with that section after a disposition hearing held in accordance with this section.
Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 1460, ch. 544, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1973. Amended by Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 2158, ch. 693, Sec. 23, eff. Sept. 1, 1975; Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 1802, ch. 394, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 31, 1981; Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 161, ch. 44, art. 1, Sec. 3, eff. April 26, 1983; Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3261, ch. 565, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1983; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 385, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 1987; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1052, Sec. 6.11, eff. Sept. 1, 1987; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 2, Sec. 16.01(17), eff. Aug. 28, 1989; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 80, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 557, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 574, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 784, Sec. 8, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 1048, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 262, Sec. 38, eff. Jan. 1, 1996; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 669, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1086, Sec. 11, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1193, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1415, Sec. 19, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1448, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1477, Sec. 10, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1297, Sec. 23, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 5.001, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 137, Sec. 13, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.
Amended by:
Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 263 (S.B. 103), Sec. 7, eff. June 8, 2007.
Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 263 (S.B. 103), Sec. 64(1), eff. June 8, 2007.
Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 849 (H.B. 1121), Sec. 3, eff. June 15, 2007.
Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 908 (H.B. 2884), Sec. 11, eff. September 1, 2007.
Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 87 (S.B. 1969), Sec. 27.001(13), eff. September 1, 2009.
Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 108 (H.B. 1629), Sec. 2, eff. May 23, 2009.
Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 438 (S.B. 1208), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2011.
Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1299 (H.B. 2862), Sec. 17, eff. September 1, 2013.
Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1323 (S.B. 511), Sec. 2, eff. December 1, 2013.
Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 734 (H.B. 1549), Sec. 49, eff. September 1, 2015.
Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 962 (S.B. 1630), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2015.
Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 746 (S.B. 1304), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2017.
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May. 14, 2021