How to Have Case Heard by Teen Court
The following are requirements for youth who wish to select the Teen Court program as the alternative for handling their tickets.
10 to 13-Year-Olds
The program for 10 to 13-year-olds consists of the youth and a parent / guardian attending counseling sessions held in the Youth and Family Counseling area of the Police Department.
- First-time Offenders - Those with either assault or fighting in public citations are required to attend two anger management classes offered in both English and Spanish. For first-time offenders with other types of citations, one group-counseling session (First Offender Program) is required. English classes are held on Monday and Spanish on Wednesday, both from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
- Subsequent Offenders - If youth are not first-time offenders, a Subsequent Offender Program is available (it includes four counseling sessions on consecutive Monday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.). A parent is required to attend all programs. Enrollment is done through the Teen Court Office.
Upon notification of completion of the appropriate program, the cases are taken back to the judge for dismissal.
14 to 17-Year-Olds
Those who are ages 14 through 17, and others still enrolled in high school, will have their cases heard before a jury of their peers. A verdict will be rendered that includes community service hours (within a pre-established range on the discipline grid) and at least one jury term. Additionally, the jury may include one of the following options in the verdict:
- In Teen Court, most non-traffic offenses are presented to a jury of teens. Teen defense attorneys and prosecutors ask questions of the defendant, argue the case before the jury, and then the jury returns a verdict. A master jury hears most traffic citations. The master jury functions more like a grand jury, with direct interaction between the jurors and the defendant.
- Defendants are allowed 90 days to complete their sentences and jury term(s). The completion of the Teen Court sentence results in automatic dismissal of the case, so it is not a conviction on the teen's record. Also, the defendant does not have to pay the fine or court costs, and moving violations will not affect their insurance rate.
- On any given Teen Court night, there will be cases heard in multiple courtrooms plus two master juries. The total number of cases heard in Irving Teen Court on any given night ranges from 38 to 45, which translates to a total of approximately 1,800 cases per year.