Colorado Springs Teen Court is a unique and highly successful approach to juvenile crime. The Teen Court program provides a restorative justice alternative to regular court sentencing for first-time misdemeanor juvenile offenders between the ages of 10 and 18. Although Teen Court works in tandem with the Municipal Court system, it remains a locally-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that relies on community support to sustain its programs.

Defendants who are eligible must accept Teen Court as a six-month deferred sentence through Municipal Court. The defendant is given three months to complete their Teen Court sentence which they receive on their sentencing hearing date. Teen Court has three sentencing options: Peer Panel, Trial, and Mediation. Each defendant will be sentenced to attend one Teen Court jury duty where the defendant will participate in a Teen Court Trial and hear the case of another teen defendant. Following the concepts of Restorative Justice, defendants on the jury will deliberate on a sentence for the defendant(s) on trial.

Teen Court handles misdemeanor offenses, as described in the Colorado Springs City Codes. These offenses include but are not limited to:

  • Assault
  • Possession - Marijuana
  • Criminal Mischief
  • Property Damage/Vandalism
  • False Information
  • Public Indecency
  • Fighting
  • Resisting Police
  • Harassment
  • Shoplifting
  • Loitering
  • Theft
  • Possession - Alcohol
  • Throwing Missiles
  • Trespassing
  • Possession of Incendiary Device

Cases are referred to Teen Court from the Municipal Court at the defendant’s arraignment. A city attorney or judge determines if the defendant meets the Teen Court criteria. Defendants must plead guilty to their charges and agree to voluntarily participate in Teen Court. A parent or guardian must agree to maintain full involvement throughout the proceedings.

Based on the severity and type of crime along with the age of the offender, the case is forwarded to a Peer Panel, a Trial by Peer Jury, or a Restorative Mediation.