Teen Court is one of the diversionary programs which is utilized for first-time juvenile offenders. A court for teens (ages 12 – 16), run by teens, is a program for non-violent offenders entering the court system for the first time.
Teen Court referrals are typically for violations such as:
Minor criminal damage referrals
Each citation issued to a juvenile is reviewed with certain criteria in mind, including previous contacts that the juvenile offender has had with the police department and the type of offense. A determination is made whether the juvenile is an appropriate candidate for Teen Court. Should a referral be appropriate, a Teen Court Coordinator contacts parents of the juvenile.
Attendance at Teen Court will require certain waivers unique to Teen Court. No Teen Court cases are heard for those who are contesting the charges filed against them.
Teen Court Process
Teenage volunteers participate as attorneys, clerks, bailiffs, and jurors.
A teenage jury decides the appropriate sentence based on the factors presented and a sentencing grid.
After the court appearance, the offender must complete the sentence or penalty assigned.
If they complete their sentence, the citation is closed and no further action is taken.
Failure to comply with the sentencing results in the matter being referred back to the police department for more traditional handling.