Notice: Currently, the Irving Teen Court is accepting new applications for the next training date. Please register online.
Please note: The next training will not be scheduled until January 3, 2020. All pending applicants will be contacted then. There is no need to re-apply. Please call the Teen Court office with questions at (972) 721-3601.
Teen Court is a legally binding alternative system of justice that offers young offenders an opportunity to make restitution for their offenses through community service, educational classes and jury service. This allows eligible teens to take responsibility for their actions.
Teen Court allows both offenders and teen volunteers to better understand the system of justice. Teen Court is held one to two Tuesday evenings each month at 5:30 p.m. Teen Court is located on the second floor of the Criminal Justice Center, 305 N. O'Connor Road. For more information, call (972) 721-3601.
There are two avenues for teenagers to become involved with the Teen Court program:
Teens who have received a ticket may enroll in teen court to get the ticket dismissed. Requirements include:
- Applicant must be 10 to 17 years old or currently enrolled in high school.
- Applicant must enter a plea of guilty or no contest within 21 days of receiving a citation at the Municipal Court and request Teen Court.
- Applicant must not have been through a teen court program in the state of Texas within the past year.
- There is a $20 registration fee.
- Teens younger than 17 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian and may enter a plea 1:30 to 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.
- Teens 17 and older do not need a parent present to enter a plea, which can be done 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.
In addition, note that Teen Court enrollments are not conducted on Tuesday afternoons.
The following are requirements for youths 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 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, 6 to 9 p.m.
If youths are not first-time offenders, a Subsequent Offender Program is available (it includes four counseling sessions on consecutive Monday evenings from 6:30 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
Fourteen- through 17-year-olds 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.
Class 1 Violations
Class 1 violations will require 6-18 hours of community service and service of one jury term. Violations include, but not limited to:
- Defective Lights
- Equipment Violations
- Failure to Signal
- Following Too Closely
- Improper Turns
- Jaywalking / Crossed Roadway
- No Helmet
- Parking Violations (except disabled)
- Seat Belt Violation
- Speeding 1-10 miles per hour (mph)
- Squealing Tires
- Stopping in Prohibited Area
Class 2 Violations
Class 2 violations will require 15-30 hours of community service and service of one jury term. Violations include, but not limited to:
- Anti-Noise Violations
- Clinging to Motor Vehicle
- Cut Across Business
- Disabled Parking
- Disobey Traffic Control Device
- Driver's License Violations
- Exhibition of Acceleration
- Failure to Report Address Change
- Failure to Use Restraint / Safety Seat
- Failure to Yield Right-of-Way
- Impeding Traffic
- Littering / Public or Private Property
- One-way Street
- Ran Red Light
- Riding Back of Pickup-u/18
- Speeding 11-20 mph
- Unsafe Lane Change
- Wrong Side of Street
Class 3 Violations
Class 3 violations will require 28-46 hours of community service and service of two jury terms. Violations include, but not limited to:
- Cell Phone Prohibited - School Zone
- Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility (FMFR)**
- Non-Traffic Offenses
- Abusive Language
- Curfew Violations
- Failure to identify (ID) / Give Wrong
- Name / Give False Report
- Registration-Display Unauthorized Temporary Tags
- Speeding - School Zone 1-10 mph
- Speeding 21-25 mph
Class 4 Violations
Class 4 violations will require 42-60 hours of community service and service of two jury terms. Violations include, but not limited to:
- Accident with Damage
- FMFR - Subsequent Offense**
- Leave Scene of Accident
- Non-Traffic Offenses
- Abuse 911 Line
- Air Gun / BB Gun Violation
- Criminal Mischief
- Disruption of Classes
- Fighting in Public
- Fleeing an Officer / Evading Arrest
- JNA Fail-To-Appear
- Loitering on School Grounds
- Noxious Odor
- Offensive / Obscene Display
- Possession of / Discharge Fireworks
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Reckless Damage
- Smoking on School Grounds
- Trespassing / Trespass School Grounds
- Urinating in Public / Exposure
- Pass Stopped School Bus
- Speeding - School Zone 11+ mph
- Speeding 26+ mph
Additional Options for Sentencing (Jury May Require One)
- Attendance at one Life Skills or Anger Management class
- Letter of apology to victim or to parent / guardian
- Written essay (minimum 500 words) on a topic to be decided by the teen jury
NOTE: Jury decides whether hours assessed for multiple offenses run concurrently or consecutively; jury terms assessed are always for highest class offense.
**All participants with an FMFR citation are required to attend the class "What Is Insurance and Why Do I Need It?" (offered in both English and Spanish)
Teen Court is a deferred program of the Irving Municipal Court. Teen court volunteers, under the guidance of adults, present the case, deliberate, and construct a sentence for teens who have received a Class C misdemeanor ticket.
Qualifications for Volunteers
Teen volunteers must be at least 14 years of age. You must demonstrate an ability to treat each case individually, with objectivity and without prejudice. You must have an ability to communicate with your peers and work in a group setting, and be able to maintain confidentiality of all cases.
Prospective attorneys must attend an initial all-day training session. Training sessions are held three times a year - on a Saturday in January, May and September. Training is conducted by Teen Court staff members who will teach you the steps to becoming a Teen Court attorney. You will then serve as an assistant attorney for several months before advancing to associate attorney. After serving as an associate for one 4-month term, you will be eligible to apply to become a lead attorney. Volunteers do not have to be Irving residents.
Prospective bailiffs, clerks and jurors will attend a shorter training session.
You will attend court sessions as scheduled, follow the guidelines in your manual, maintain confidentiality, treat all participants with respect, represent your client (defense attorneys) or the State of Texas (prosecutors) to the best of your ability, attend all trainings, and follow the court rules. You will also dress professionally. Girls are expected to wear a dress, skirt/blouse, or pantsuit. Boys must wear a dress shirt and tie (coat is optional). No jeans are allowed.
You will participate as a member of a six-person teen jury. You will listen objectively to the court hearing about the offense and the circumstances surrounding the offense. You will then assign consequences designed to hold the defendant responsible for his or her actions. Jurors who are licensed drivers may also sit on our Master Jury, which hears traffic, curfew and abusive language cases.
A minimum of one Tuesday night per month from 5:30 p.m. until approximately 8:30 p.m. (although you may certainly come more often).
Length of Commitment
Four months. We schedule by four-month terms. At the end of the term, you will be given the opportunity to commit to another term.
You must be dependable. If you miss two of your scheduled court sessions without giving us advance notice, you will be removed from the Teen Court program. You must also be flexible. There are always last-minute changes on court nights, and we expect you to be willing to serve where you are needed.
Adults can apply to help with:
- Checking-in of jurors
- Handling checkout of defendants
- Local attorneys are welcome to apply to volunteer as Teen Court judges
- Making jury assignments
- Overseeing the courtrooms
Interested persons may contact the Teen Court office at:
Irving Teen Court
P.O. Box 152288
Irving, TX 75015-2288
Phone: (972) 721-3601
Fax: (972) 721-3606
Applications are available at the Irving Criminal Justice Center at 305 N. O’Connor Road or online.