Bonner County courts encompass the Youth Court, Drug Court, Traffic Citations and Small Claims. Scroll on below to see additional details. See the Court Assistance Officer for help filling out the required court documents.
Court Assistance Office
The Bonner County Court Assistance Office can help you find court forms, information and resources. It is a resource for self-help information about laws and court procedures.
Help is available for the following legal issues:
- Parenting Plans
- Child Support
- Name Change
- Domestic Violence
- Protection Orders
- Small Claims
- Landlord & Tenant Issues
Located in the courthouse at 215 South First Avenue in Sandpoint, the office is open on a first-come, first-served basis on Monday from 9:30 am to 4 pm and on Wednesday from 9:30 am to noon. You can reach the Court Assistance Coordinator Alexandria Lewis by phone at (208) 265-1449.
Drug Court is a post-conviction, 18-month program for persons who have a drug or alcohol problem, are convicted of a criminal offense meeting eligibility requirements and who want help for that problem. Defense attorneys may submit applications on behalf of their clients to the Drug Court coordinator to begin the initial process. A printable application is available here or you may obtain one from the Drug Court office.
Focus on the Children Workshop
On the second Tuesday of every month from 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., the Bonner County Magistrate Judges, a mental health professional and Family Court Services present the Focus on the Children Workshop on the second floor of the Bonner County Courthouse. Every parent of a minor child who is involved in a custody proceeding receives an order to attend the workshop. There is a $20.00 fee for class. (Guests are welcome for $15.00 each). If the court waived the current filing fees in the case, that parent’s fee will also be waived for the class.
The ability to co-parent during and after separation or divorce has a direct impact on how well children do in school, in the community and their personal relationships. The class is designed to help minimize the negative impact of divorce or separation at a time when parents are naturally preoccupied with their own adjustments. The class acknowledges that although the marriage and/or relationship between the parents is over, the parental role continues to exist.
The workshop will address:
- Positive alternatives to litigation.
- Children’s reactions to separation and divorce and how to help your children during this transition.
- How children unexpectedly get caught in the middle.
- Developmental needs and risks to children going through family transitions, explained by the professional.
- Resources, pamphlets, books, mediation lists.
Children are not allowed at the class. There is no daycare available. If a parent cannot attend on the date specified in the order, he or she should contact one of the magistrate secretaries at 265-1446 and ask to be rescheduled.
Family Court Services
Family Court Services offers resources for parents involved in the process of establishing or modifying parenting schedules for their children. In addition to providing the Focus on the Children classes, Family Court Services also:
- Provides resources, referrals, information about services and funding for mediation, supervised access and family needs assessments.
- Maintains a list of mediators, supervised providers, parenting coordinators, and resources for families involved in family law matters.
The contact person is Janet Meserve, Family Court Services Coordinator. The office is usually open in Sandpoint on Tuesday and Thursday. The contact number is 265-1449 or 446-1179.
A Night Court session is held monthly to allow persons charged with traffic and criminal misdemeanor offenses to be arraigned in the evening. Night Court sessions are held the last Thursday of each month at 6:00 p.m. The intent of conducting Night Court sessions is to minimize the inconvenience for those persons who work or attend school during business hours. A deputy clerk is available at each Night Court session to accept payments for fines imposed at that session. Any person charged with any traffic or misdemeanor offense may schedule a Night Court arraignment by telephoning the Bonner County Clerk’s office at 208-265-1432.
Youth Courts are an early intervention program for juveniles who have committed offenses. They are based on the premise that (1) young people are less likely to become re-involved in illegal activity after participating in a judicial process in which their peers determine their sentence and (2) that promoting feelings of self-esteem, motivation for self-improvement, and constructive attitudes toward authority and the responsibilities of citizenship can interrupt the development of criminal and self-destructive behavior. Youth Courts help to:
- Expose young people to the judicial process and to the consequences of illegal behavior;
- Provide an alternative to standard juvenile court proceedings;
- Offer an opportunity for young people to experience the consequences of their behavior without having a juvenile court record;
- Provide a vehicle for students interested in careers in law enforcement, law, and legal services such as court reporting, to participate in the legal process; and
- Involve the community in the juvenile court process.
Youth Courts are sentencing, not adversary, proceedings; they do not determine guilt or innocence. Referral to Youth Court requires that a juvenile, with the consent of a parent or guardian, plead guilty and choose Youth Court instead of traditional court. He or she then appears before the Youth Court for a mini trial on the issue of sentencing. Local high school students serve as defense attorneys, prosecuting attorneys and jurors. The student jury then decides on the sentence. If the young person completes his/her sentence, the case is dismissed. If not, the youth is returned to the traditional court for sentencing by a judge, which results in a court record.
The Bonner County Youth Court convenes at 6:00 p.m. on alternate Wednesday evenings in Courtroom One at the Bonner County Courthouse. Magistrate Judge Barbara Buchanan is the presiding judge. Amy Flint is the Youth Court Coordinator. The public is welcome to attend. If you have questions about Youth Court you may contact Amy Flint at 255-2165 or Magistrate Secretary Pat Holt at 265-1446.