Arizona Juvenile vs Adult Justice System

juvenile vs adult justice systemThere are some serious incidents that can change the view of a teenager in the eyes of the law. There are some circumstances that can cause the law to see a teenager as an adult if the crime is right. There are circumstances where a child as young as 14 can be charged as an adult in some cases.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent

Just like an adult, when a teenager is arrested, they are read their rights. They have the right to an attorney, and they have the right to have their parents present. There are several circumstances in Arizona that can turn a teenager into an adult with the execution of one poor decision.

In the state of Arizona, you are no longer considered a child and tried as an adult if:

  • If you are 15 years of age and commit a violent crime.
    • Violent crimes are defined as first-degree murder, second-degree murder, aggravated assault with injury, using a deadly weapon to commit the act of aggravated assault, armed robbery, drive-by shooting, or any other crime that could be classified as a violent act.
  • If you are 15 years of age and have committed repeated felony offenses.
  • If you have been prosecuted as an adult prior to this offense.
  • If you are 14 years of age or older the County Attorney may choose to prosecute as an adult if the offense is serious enough to warrant it.
    • This includes class 1 and class 2 felonies, a class 3 felony in violation of Title 13, Chapters 10-17, 19, or 23, class 3, 4, 5, or 6 felonies classified as dangerous.
  • The County Attorney may also prosecute a 14-year-old as an adult if they are a frequent felony offender.
  • The County Attorney can also request that a charge be transferred from the juvenile court system to the regular court system for adult prosecution. This is especially true if the juvenile is considered a danger.

Juvenile Charges

If your teenager gets to keep their charges in the juvenile court system, you are going to hear terms like “delinquent” or “incorrigible”. This means that the judge has determined that the teenager is guilty of the charges and they will be sentenced in accordance with the crime.

Probation-If your teenager is sentenced to probation, they will be able to remain in your home with the supervision of a probation officer. Usually, the probationary period is one year unless they commit another crime, violate the conditions of the probation, do not follow through with restitution if required, or the court decides that the teen should remain on it.

Juvenile Corrections Center- This is the equivalent of jail time in regard to a teenager. The teenager will typically remain in a locked facility until they reach the age of 18 or as determined by the judge for the offense.

Treatment Facility- The judge can place a teenager in a supervised foster or group home if they feel they need it for therapeutic purposes.

Restitution- The judge can order the teenager or their parents to pay for property damage, loss, or other damages that were incurred by the teenager.

Fines- The court can find that you need to pay fines for the crimes your teenager has committed.

Teen Court- Teen Court is where your offenses will be heard by a jury of teen peers and a teen attorney will be available for the hearing.

If you find that your teenager is risking any sort of juvenile or adult charges, it is in their best interest for you to hire an experienced criminal attorney in the state of Arizona to handle their case. Trying to handle things on your own or on their own could have serious consequences and you do not want to gamble on their future.

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