Teen Court is an alternative sentencing program for first time criminal and traffic offenders (ages 13 - 17) who have been charged with a misdemeanor and are eligible for diversion. The program strives for positive development in the local juvenile population, and aims to reduce the amount of youth involved with the juvenile justice system. Teen Court functions in cooperation with Juvenile Probation, Magistrate and Municipal courts, and local law enforcement agencies.
The mission of the Otero County Teen Court program is to assist juvenile offenders in assuming responsibility for their behavior, to hold them accountable for their actions, and to teach them to make better decisions. We seek to involve juveniles in their community through community service opportunities, and to promote better communication between youth, parents, and law enforcement.
Teen Court Process
Sanctions are determined by a jury of the defendant's peers that have completed the sentencing portion of the Teen Court Porcess, and a serving jury duties. Minimum mandatory sentencing requirements for all Teen Court cases involve jury duty, community service, a "Know the Law" class, and an "Alcohol and Drug Awareness" class. Additional mandatory classes may be required depending on the offense.
The curriculum utilized by Teen Court includes:
- Alcohol Literacy Challenge - SAMHSA
- Drugs: Shatter the Myths - NIDA
- Drugs, Brains and Behavior: The Science of Addiction - NIDA
- The Brain: Understanding Neurobiology Through the Study of Addiction Alcohol Drug Undercover (video/worksheet) - NIDA
- Underage Drinking: Know the Facts, Know the Risks (video/worksheet) - CDC, NCADI, NIDA & SAMHSA
- Alcohol and Your Body: Assessing the Damage (video/worksheet) - CDC, NCADI, NIDA & SAMHSA
- Marijuana and the Teenage Brain (video/worksheets) - NHES
- All You Need to Know About Alcohol (video/worksheets) -NHES
- The New Marijuana: Higher Potency, Greater Dangers (video/worksheets) - NHES
- All You Need to Know About Prescription and OTC Drugs (video/worksheets) - NHES
- SIDNE (Simulated Impaired Driving Experience)
Teen Court is a great opportunity to learn more about the law, participate in a poitive manner within the community, and can be a notable addition to scholarship applications or resumes. Eligible participants may serve as a prosecuting attorney, bailiff, or one of the many other Teen Court positions. Anyone interested in volunteering with the Teen Court program will need to contact the Teen Court Coordinator.