Eligibility for the Program
You must meet the following requirements to be eligible:
- No previous convictions ("adjudications") in any juvenile or adult court;
- Be 14-17 years old; and,
- Live in Washington County.
If you are eligible for the Youth Court program, the charges against you may be reduced from a misdemeanor (a crime) to a violation. Under Oregon law, you cannot be sent to a juvenile detention facility if you are guilty of a violation. However, you can still be required to pay a fine or serve a period of probation (usually 6 to 12 months). As part of your probation, you can be required to perform community service, provide restitution, write a letter of apology and comply with other conditions imposed by the court (see Disposition below).
You must appear with your parent or legal guardian in the Tigard Municipal Court at the time stated on the summons. If you fail to appear, the Court may issue a warrant for your arrest, enter a default judgment (a fine) against you and take other appropriate action under Oregon law.
Role of Parents
Parents or guardians are required to attend all court proceedings and make sure the youth complies with the court's orders. Under Oregon law, a judge may also require parents to attend counseling, parent education or other programs that may help to reduce the risk of future law violations.
You have a right to be represented by a lawyer at every stage of your case. Under Oregon law, persons charged with violations are not eligible for a court-appointed attorney. You or your parents may hire an attorney at your own expense. If you choose to be represented by a lawyer, please have your lawyer notify the court as soon as possible. If you need help in finding a lawyer, contact the Oregon State Bar's Lawyer Referral Service at 503-620-0222 or toll-free at 800-452-8260.
Entering a Plea
At the time of your first appearance ("arraignment") in Municipal Court, the judge will ask you to enter one of the following pleas:
- Not Guilty: Means you wish to contest the allegations against you. Your case will be scheduled for trial in about two months. The court will send you a brochure with information about the trial process. If the court finds that you did not commit an offense, the case will be closed and you will not be required to pay a fine or complete probation.
- Guilty: You admit that you committed the offense. You will be given the opportunity to make a statement before any sentence is imposed. Your sentence can include a fine or probation (see Disposition below).
- No Contest: Similar to a guilty plea. You will be required to pay a fine or complete various conditions of probation.
If you plead guilty or no contest, or if you are found guilty at trial, the court may require you to do one or more of the following:
- Pay a fine to the court within the time required by the judge.
- Perform community service at a non-profit agency for the number of hours required by the judge. You will be given a list of agencies from which to choose. It is your responsibility to complete all the required hours and provide written proof to the court by the date stated in the court's order.
- Pay restitution to the victim or perform services for the victim.
- Take part in a counseling program.
- Remain in school with satisfactory grades, or return to school.
- Obey all laws and complete any other conditions of probation that the judge imposes.
If you fail to complete all the requirements imposed by the court, the judge may do one or more of the following:
- Impose additional penalties;
- Issue a warrant for your arrest;
- Find you in contempt of court; and,
- Refer your case to the Washington County Juvenile Department in Hillsboro for further action.
Under Oregon law (ORS 419A.262), you may be able to have all records of your conviction destroyed or expunged once you reach 18 years of age. You should contact an attorney or the court when you turn 18 if you're interested in applying for an expunction.