Teen Court is a partnership between the teen, the parents, and the courts. It is not simply a way to avoid the standard fine and make sure teen offenders do not get a criminal record. Teen Court is an option that must be requested by the teen and their parent because they believe that by being brought before a jury of their peers, accepting responsibility for the offense, and fulfilling the sentence, the teen will learn something that will help them to change their behavior.
Teen Court requires a great commitment, not only from the teen involved in the offense, but equally, a commitment from the parent. Doing community service work and jury duty can take up to 90 days to complete and all parties must believe this is the right way for the teen to learn a valuable lesson. If you cannot accept this commitment then you should NOT seek Teen Court as an option.
Many of the youth who commit offenses do not drive or have a car at their disposal. Their sentence requires that they must serve a designated number of community service work hours and they must attend from one to six jury duty sessions on the second and fourth Tuesday evenings of the month.
If a parent is unable or unwilling to be responsible for the teen's transportation needs, you should NOT seek Teen Court as an option.
A parent is required to attend the court hearing with the teen and is questioned as well. Most of the time the parent will be asked about their relationship with their teen and about discipline measures that have been taken. Parents should be willing to answer questions about these relevant facts. If you are not willing to participate in this manner, then Teen Court should NOT be sought as an option.
Teen Court is Real Court
This is a real court of law, presided over by a licensed attorney and sanctioned by the State of Texas. Its volunteer jurors, and court officers, although Jr. High and High School students, take their responsibilities seriously and work very professionally to come to a sentence that will encourage the teen to change their behavior. Teen Court is a learning environment for defendant, parent, and court officers alike.
If you understand this commitment and are willing to accept the responsibilities that go with it, we invite you to seek Teen Court and we think your teen can benefit from this experience.