Teen Court - Frequently Asked Questions

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Who Participates in Teen Court?


Juveniles who plead guilty to misdemeanor offenses that may include:

  • Disturbance of school
  • Minor consumption/possession of alcohol
  • Petty theft
  • Simple assault
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Ingestion/possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia

The defendant has a $35 fee and 90 days to complete his/her court requirements.

  • Teen Volunteers are trained to perform the roles of attorneys, bailiffs, court clerks, jurors, exit officers and more. A Teen Advisory Committee provides feedback and assists staff in decision-making and program planning.
  • Adult Volunteers may perform roles such as Judges and Jury Monitors as well as volunteer recruitment and training, publicity, and assistance in overall programming.  If interested in volunteering, please contact the Juvenile Diversion Coordinator.

What are the benefits of Teen Court?

Teen Court:

  • helps youth realize they will be held accountable for their problem behavior.
  • educates youth on the impact their actions have on themselves and others (i.e. victims and the community).
  • builds competencies in youth by providing instruction in how the legal system functions and how to communicate and resolve problems with peers more effectively.
  • provides a meaningful forum for youth to practice and enhance newly developed competencies.
  • assists the juvenile court system by reducing backlog, court time and expense.
  • benefits the community be reducing and preventing crime and providing community service volunteers.
  • encourages all who participate to recognize the impact on victims and what needs to be done to repair the harm.

*From APPA's "Peer Justice and Youth Empowerment" (Oct 1996)

What are the possible dispositions (how the case is settled)?

  • Property Offense Class
    A two-hour class focusing on the short and long-term effects of theft.
  • Substance Abuse Education
    Referrals made to Lifeways Advisors or The City/County Alcohol and Other Drug Program
  • Stop and Think Class
    A two-hour class highlighting choices and consequences.
  • MADD Victim Impact Panel
    In this informative session, compelling stories from victims of impaired-driving crashes are shared.
  • Jury Terms
    Defendants serve on at least one jury panel in a future sentencing hearing.
  • Community Connection
    Volunteer hours are performed for a non-profit organization or victim in the community. 
  • Other Options, but not limited to:
    Verbal or Written Apologies, Essays, Artwork, Counseling, Restitution, Mentoring, Tours of Facilities, Research, Interviews and more.

Where is Teen Court held?

Teen Court is held at the Pennington County State's Attorney Office in the County Administration Building at 130 Kansas City St., Suite 300, Rapid City, South Dakota.