Midland Teen Court provides an alternative system of justice for youth to promote accountability and community engagement. Teen Court is a “hands on” educational opportunity, which allows both offenders and teen volunteers to better understand our system of justice.
A youth deferred to Teen Court appears before a jury of peers, both secondary school volunteers and youth who are serving as part of their sentence. Evidence from Midland and many other cities indicates that young people do stay out of trouble following a Teen Court appearance and that the program saves hundreds of thousands of dollars of community expense.
Midland Teen Court hopes to interrupt developing patterns of criminal behavior by increasing self-esteem, motivating youth for self-improvement, and developing healthy attitudes toward authority. The program stresses the responsibility and accountability of an individual for his actions. Service on a Teen Court jury challenges a youth to perform at his/her highest level of ability and places a high priority on educating youth for life responsibilities as an individual, family member, and citizen.
Midland Teen Court, Inc. is a non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. A governing board comprised of members of the community at large as well as representatives of the funding bodies and the judiciary oversees the program.
Persons (ages 10 to 18 or who are enrolled full time in an accredited secondary school working toward a high school diploma) may request Teen Court for most Class C misdemeanors, (including traffic tickets, Simple Assault, Disorderly Conduct, Theft under $50, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Minor in Possession or Consuming Alcohol, or violation of city ordinances such as curfew, fireworks inside the city limits, etc.)
- Only one citation may be referred to the Teen Court Program within a two-year period from Municipal Court or Justice Courts
- Consent of parent or guardian is required
Under Article 45.052 in the Code of Criminal Procedure, successful completion within a 90-day period results in dismissal of the citation, which may not be part of the defendant’s criminal record or driving record used for any other purpose.
Other citations may be referred to Teen Court upon recommendation of the Municipal Court or Justice Court Judges.
*Failure to complete the Teen Court program within the allowed 90-day period results in payment of the set fine and a conviction on the defendant’s record.