Teen Court FAQs

WHAT IS TEEN COURT?

Teen Court is a voluntary program, which assists teenage offenders in assuming responsibility for their behavior through involvement in the judicial process and in the community. By bringing them before a jury of their peers, which sentences them to constructive service in an agency of their choice, this program seeks to deter teens from future unlawful practices. Teen Court provides direct experience in the judiciary system and an understanding for their roles in society. Additionally, the community reciprocally benefits from these youths involvement in their programs. Each individual’s self-worth will be maintained by respectful treatment and confidentiality.

WHEN IS TEEN COURT?

Amarillo Teen Court is every Monday year-round from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Teen Court Courses are held every Tuesday from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Teen Court and Courses are located on the first floor of the Amarillo Municipal Court 201 S.E. 4th Avenue in downtown Amarillo.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO PARTICIPATE IN TEEN COURT?

  • The defendant must be 10-18 years old or currently enrolled in high school.
  • The defendant must enter a plea of guilty or nolo contendere. If the defendant is under 17 years old a parent/guardian must appear with the defendant in open court.
  • The defendant and parent/guardian must verbally request Teen Court from a Municipal Court judge for a traffic or criminal citation.
  • The defendant must pay a $20 administrative fee to the Municipal Court.
  • The defendants must be a first time offender and not have any other charges.
  • The defendant will have 90 days from the referral date to complete Teen Court requirements.

HOW DO I HAVE MY CASE HEARD BY TEEN COURT?

Once the defendant has seen the judge and paid the $20 administrative fee, the defendant and his/her parent/guardian will meet with the Juvenile Services Coordinator. The Coordinator will explain the program to the defendant and the parent/guardian and then assign the defendant a court date where the defendant will appear before the Teen Court.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN TEEN COURT?

A youth referred to Teen Court appears before a jury of peers, volunteers from local secondary schools, and returning youth who were previously defendants. The defendant will tell his/her side of the story and the teen jury will assess community service hours and jury terms from a grid system based on the nature of the offense. The Juvenile Services Coordinator will provide a list of Community Service agencies and explain the community service and jury term process.

WHAT HAPPENS UPON SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF TEEN COURT?

The completion of the Teen Court sentence results in automatic dismissal of the case and the remainder of the fine amount.

WHAT HAPPENS IF TEEN COURT IS NOT COMPLETED?

Failure to complete the Teen Court program within 90 days from referral results in payment of the original set fine and a conviction on the defendant’s record.