The Butler County Juvenile Traffic Court handles cases involving persons who are under 18 years of age who are charged with offenses relating to the operation of motor vehicles, the use of state identification cards, and pedestrian safety. Initial appearances in Juvenile Traffic Court are processed by a court magistrate who sits in evening sessions two times per week.
In 2002, the Juvenile Traffic Court saw a modest increase in the number of citations issued. The most notable of those increases were in the area of speeding citations and citations for stop sign/red light violations. Increased attention to the issue of accidents, especially fatal accidents, involving teenage drivers is the likely cause of those increased numbers.
The Juvenile Court possesses fairly broad discretion regarding dispositional alternatives for juvenile traffic offenders. Traditional sanctions range from the imposition of fines and costs to court imposed license suspensions of various types. Generally speaking, unlike adult court, in most cases, the Juvenile Court is not empowered with the authority to incarcerate traffic offenders.
In addition to those traditional sanctions, the Juvenile Court also refers many juveniles to educational programs. Programs such as CARTEENS, The Driving Intervention and Improvement Program (formerly Defensive Driving), and the Teen Intervention Program are utilized regularly by the court to educate, assess, and intervene when needed to address problems identified in young drivers.
CARTEENS is a program sponsored by this court and developed jointly by The Ohio State University Extension Office, local 4-H clubs, and the Ohio Highway Patrol. CARTEENS is a program wherein teenagers present their peers with information relating to driving safety in a group-meeting setting.
The Driving Intervention and Improvement Program is an all-day class presented by the Hamilton and Middletown Safety Councils. This program presents issues ranging from the consequences of careless driving to dealing with road rage. Utilized for many years, this program has been a mainstay of support when the Juvenile Court deals with teens who are involved in traffic accidents and other dangerous behaviors on the roadways.
The Teen Intervention Program Provides intervention and assessment services to the court regarding the issues of drug abuse and alcohol abuse by young drivers. This three-day intensive program provides valuable information and education to the juveniles involved and provides the court with an assessment of any need for further treatment.