Teen Court

 

Defendants   |   Discipline Grid   |   Volunteer 

 

Current Volunteer Opportunities   

Teens Volunteer Now!    
Adults Volunteer Now!   

 

NOTICE:  As of now, the Irving Teen Court is not accepting new applications. Please check back in the future for any change. The February 15th training date has been canceled. All pending applications will be saved until the next scheduled training date in September of 2014.
 

 

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 our system of justice. Teen Court is held two to three Tuesday evenings each month at 5:30 p.m. We are located on the second floor of the Criminal Justice Center at 305 N. O'Connor Road in Irving. You can reach us at (972) 721-3601.

There are two avenues for teenagers to become involved with the Teen Court program:

  1. As a defendant
  2. As a volunteer


If you have received a ticket and are interested in enrolling in teen court to get your ticket dismissed:

  • You must be 10-17 years old or currently enrolled in high school.
  • You must enter a plea of guilty or no contest within 21 days of receiving a citation at the Municipal Court and request Teen Court.
  • You must not have been through a teen court program in the state of Texas within the past two years.
  • There is a $20 registration fee. 
  • Teens under 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 over do not need a parent present to enter a plea 8 a.m. to  4:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.
  • In order to save yourself an additional trip to the court, please note that Teen Court enrollments are not conducted on Tuesday afternoons.



    Defendants  |  Top 

    How do I have my case heard by Teen Court?

    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 seventeen-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 prosectors 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 ninety 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 38-45, which translates to a total of approximately 1,800 cases per year.

 Discipline Grid  |  Top

    Class 1
    Includes, but not limited to:

    Defective Lights
    Equipment Violations
    No Helmet
    Seat Belt Violation
    Stopping in Prohibited Area
    Following Too Closely
    Failure to Signal
    Improper Turns
    Speeding 1-10 mph
    Squealing Tires
    Jaywalking/Crossed Roadway
    Parking Violations (except disabled)
    6-18 hours
    1 jury term

    Class 2
    Includes, but not limited to:

    Driver's License Violations
    Speeding 11-20 mph
    Ran Red Light
    Failure to Yield Right-of-Way
    Wrong Side of Street
    Impeding Traffic
    Unsafe Lane Change
    Disobey Traffic Control Device
    One-way Street
    Exhibition of Acceleration
    Riding Back of Pickup-u/18
    Disabled Parking
    Cut Across Business
    Clinging to Motor Vehicle
    Failure to Use Restraint/Safety Seat
    Anti-Noise Violations
    Littering/Public or Private Property
    Failure to Report Address Change


    15-30 hours
    1 jury term

    Class 3
    Includes, but not limited to:

    Speeding 21-25 mph
    Speeding -- school zone 1-10 mph
    Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility**
    Registration-Display Unauthorized Temporary Tags
    Cell Phone Prohibited - School Zone

    NON-TRAFFIC OFFENSES
    Failure to ID/Give Wrong
    Name/Give False Report
    Curfew Violations
    Abusive Language


    28-46 hours
    2 jury terms

    Class 4
    Includes, but not limited to:

    Speeding  26+ MPH
    Speeding - school zone 11+ MPH
    Pass Stopped School Bus
    Accident w/Damage
    Leave Scene of Accident
    FMFR - Subsequent Offense**

    NON-TRAFFIC OFFENSES
    Theft
    Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
    Trespassing/Trespass School Grounds
    Assault
    Smoking on School Grounds
    Fighting in Public
    Fleeing an Officer/Evading Arrest
    Reckless Damage
    Criminal Mischief
    Disruption of Classes
    Air Gun/BB Gun Violation
    Offensive/Obscene Display
    Urinating in Public/Exposure
    Noxious Odor
    Possession of/Discharge Fireworks
    Abuse 911 Line
    Loitering on School Grounds
    JNA Fail-To-Appear


    42-60 hours
    2 jury terms


    NOTE:  Jury decides whether hours assessed for multiple offenses run concurrently or consecutively; jury terms assessed are always for highest class offense.

     

    Additional options for sentencing:
    (jury may require ONE)

    · Letter of apology to victim or to parent/guardian
    · Attendance at one Life Skills or Anger Management class
    · Written essay (minimum 500 words) on a topic to be decided by the teen jury

    **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



     

    Volunteer  |  Top 


    How Do I Volunteer To Help With Teen Court?

    Overview:
    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.

    Training:
    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.

    Attorneys:
    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.

    Jurors:
    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.

    Time Required:
    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.

    Special Requirements:
    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
         - making jury assignments
         - overseeing the courtrooms
         - handling checkout of defendants

         *Local attorneys are welcome to apply to volunteer as Teen Court judges.


    Interested persons may contact the Teen Court office:

    • Telephone:  (972) 721-3601
    • Fax:  (972) 721-3606
    • Mail: Irving Teen Court, P.O. Box 152288, Irving, Texas  75015-2288. Applications are available at the Irving Criminal Justice Center, 305 N. O’Connor Road or online.