Justice of the Peace Truancy Cases

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Smith County Uniform Truancy Plan

On March 7, 2017, the Smith County Commissioners Court adopted the Smith County Uniform Truancy Plan. This plan has three goals:

  • To allow each school district to consider each case individually and take into consideration what is in the child or parent's best interest to improve attendance and minimize court involvement;
  • To outline the minimum standards of truancy prevention required by new state legislation; and
  • To clearly outline school requirements and court procedures for filing truant conduct related cases with the court.

The primary focus of the Smith County Uniform Truancy Plan is to leverage community resources and emphasize deterrent, preventive, and reformative aspects in approaching truancy within Smith County in furtherance of the child and family’s best interests.

Truancy Cases in Smith County

  • In 2015, the 84th Legislature amended the state laws to decriminalize truancy. Since then, truancy has been civil infraction governed by Chapter 65 of the Texas Family Code.
  • Truancy provisions apply to children who are aged 12 or older and younger than 19. Tex. Family Code § 65.002(1).
  • A Child commits truant conduct when he or she:
    • is required to attend school under section 25.085; and
    • fails to attend school on 10 or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year or on three or more days or parts of days within a four-week period.
  • Texas Education Code § 25.0951 states that “if a student fails to attend school without excuse on 10 or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year, a school district shall within 10 school days of the student’s 10th absence refer the student to a truancy court for truant conduct under Section 65.003(a), Family Code.” Tex. Educ. Code § 25.0951(a).
  • Once the school files a truancy case with the truancy court, the court will refer the case to the District Attorney’s Office for determination of whether or not to file a truancy case. Tex. Family Code § 65.053.
  • Smith County Truant Conduct Prosecutors are Assistant Criminal District Attorneys from the Civil Division. They are the points of contact for filing truancy cases with the Justice Courts.
    • Precincts 1, 2, & 3: Assistant Criminal District Attorney Phillip Smith, (903) 590-4632.
    • Precincts 4 & 5: Assistant Criminal District Attorney Thomas Wilson, (903) 590-4629.
    • Please keep in mind that if the child is a student at the Tyler Independent School District, those cases are filed with Truant Conduct Prosecutors from the City of Tyler, City Attorney’s Office.


Community Resources

More to be added as they become available.

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