What Is Teen Court
Teen Court allows juvenile offenders to assume responsibility for their own actions by involvement in the judicial process and community services in order that their offenses may be dismissed. Offender’s cases are presented to a jury of their peers. Jury members assign a community service sentence according to a discipline grid as well as any additional sanction that they deem appropriate. Bringing juvenile offenders to a jury of their peers and to the community for constructive punishment provides the youth with an understanding of the judicial system and a realization of their roles in the community.
Juvenile offenders must be between the ages of 10 and 17 years, or over 17 if currently enrolled full time in a secondary school. The offender must enter a plea of guilty or no contest. The teen must request participation in the program from the Friendswood Municipal Judge and pay the required teen court fees. The teen cannot have participated in a Teen Court Program, within the State of Texas, during the past two years. A parent or guardian must be present at the time of enrollment and during the Teen Court session. The parent or guardian must submit an emergency release form that has been signed and notarized.
Class I (10-20 service hours) 1 jury term
Traffic Related Offenses – license or restriction violation, lights/equipment violation, anti-noise violation, safety equipment violation, failure to show driver’s license, expired inspection/registration
Class II (20-30 service hours) 1 jury term
Curfew Violation; Fireworks; Traffic Related Offenses – failure to yield right of way, running a stop sign, no helmet, following too closely, disobey traffic control devise, going wrong way on one way street, not wearing seatbelt, speeding 1-10 mph over limit, fail to signal
Class III (30-40 service hours) 2 jury terms
Littering; Traffic Related Violations – all accident related offenses, running a red light, speeding 1-10 mph over in a school zone, speeding 11-19 mph over limit
Class IV (40-50 service hours) 2 jury terms
Alcohol, Criminal Mischief, Disorderly Conduct, Failure to Identify to a Police Officer, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Simple Assault, Theft, Traffic Related Offenses – racing (contest of speed), attempted reckless driving, driving under the influence, speeding 11+ over in a school zone, speeding 20+ mph over limit, driving without a license, driving while license suspended
Any other Class C misdemeanor or city ordinance violation punishable by fine only not specifically named in the above discipline grid, may be sentenced under any class. The Teen Court Jury may set a sentence under a class other than the class in which the offense is listed above for good cause shown by the evidence and circumstances of the case.
The courtroom is a formal, serious place commanding respect from all who participate in its proceedings. The following guidelines apply to everyone attending court.
The following are NOT allowed
No electronic devices (including cell phones); no audio/visual recordings without permission; no pets; no weapons; no gum; no food or drinks; no tobacco
All Persons Subject To Search
Each defendant is assessed a non-refundable administrative fee of $20 for each offense. This amount must be paid to the court upon requesting Teen Court.
Offenders are given several choices of service worksites to complete their community service. After determining the worksite, each offender is responsible for setting his/her schedule, performing the work, and reporting the completed hours to the Teen Court Office within the specified time period.
Work Site Rules:
Ages 14-17 serve as the staff in Teen Court and act as the jurors, court clerks, bailiffs, prosecuting counsels, and defense counsels. Students must live in the City of Friendswood and may be enrolled in Friendswood, Clear Brook, or Clear Springs High Schools.
Adult assistance is needed to achieve the goals of Friendswood Teen Court. Some duties may include jury monitoring, clerical work, and training.
Practicing attorneys are needed to assist in training teen attorneys.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING, PLEASE CONTACT THE TEEN COURT COORDINATOR AT
281-996-3378 MAILBOX 8336#
Teen Court is usually held on the first and third Tuesdays of the month.