So, I work for the city. I work for the Municipal Court, in the Youth Services department. Part of the reason we're a department within the Muni Court Unit, is because of Texas Family Code Chapter 51, Section 1
. Go ahead. It only takes a moment, as I'm only talking about the first bit. I'll wait.
I specifically refer to 51.01, 2(B), in which we are, more or less, charged with removing, where possible, the "taint of criminality" from children committing "Certain Unlawful Acts." My job, specifically, involves Class C Misdemeanors, those crimes which are punishable by Fine Only (A conviction of a Class C Misdemeanor cannot result in deprivation of freedom).
So, I'm supposed to help "Children" (persons aged 10-17 who have been accused of a crime) (which, yes, suggests that if one minor was smoking and his minor friends weren't, he was a child and they are the associates of a child but are not, legally, children themselves) keep first and second offenses off their records, type of thing, and to have minor crimes not haunt them for the rest of their natural lives. Whereas, if an adult pleads guilty to Class C Theft, commonly called Shoplifting, that person will be convicted of a crime of Moral Turpitude, and will be ineligible to receive certain government monies, serve on a jury, be licensed by the state, or work in certain industries. If a Child does so, I am supposed to help that child avoid those negative effects.
So, I have this problem. As part of my job, I enter traffic tickets. I work with Juveniles accused of Class C Traffic offenses. Although I am sort of charged with doing so, I'm not sure I'm allowed to say to a kid, "If you don't have a license, and you drive down the street without a seatbelt, smoking, with your stereo audible from more than thirty feet, being obviously younger than age 17 and in violation of Austin's Curfew Laws, you make it very difficult for me to help you remove the taint of criminality from you, a child, who keeps committing these certain unlawful acts."
It becomes frustrating, and it makes my job difficult.
That's what I do all day.