For over 33 years, Craig Orent of Orent Law Offices has defended juveniles against a wide range of offenses including violent crimes and delinquent acts. Contact our Phoenix law firm today at (480) 656-7301 to schedule a free consultation with a Phoenix juvenile crimes lawyer who will fight for your child’s rights.
Has your child been arrested and charged with a juvenile offense in Phoenix, AZ? Time is of the essence to ensure your child’s rights are protected. The juvenile justice system in Arizona focuses on rehabilitation over incarceration. However, your child can still be detained, face a permanent criminal record, and potentially be tried as an adult.
Juvenile courts in the state of Arizona have a great deal of discretion when it comes to trying and sentencing juvenile offenders. However, securing alternative punishments and avoiding detention often requires a persuasive argument and a strong defense.
When your child is facing a serious juvenile offense, you deserve a criminal defense attorney in Phoenix who can fight for your child’s freedom and seek the best possible case results.
Craig Orent, founding attorney of Orent Law Offices, is a Top 100 Trial Lawyer and a Certified Criminal Law Specialist. He will put his three decades of experience and reputation to work to defend your child.
Hire Orent Law Offices for your child’s defense and we will:
Contact our law office in Phoenix, Arizona today to schedule your free consultation. Our Phoenix juvenile crime lawyer will help you explore the best possible defense options for your child.
When a minor under 18 is arrested for a crime in Phoenix, their case is assigned to a special juvenile court. Juvenile trials are held in front of a judge, not a jury, with records sealed from the public. Unless the juvenile has been charged with a serious offense, they will be tried in the juvenile court system which focuses on rehabilitation and treatment over incarceration.
Under the Arizona Revised Statutes Title 8, juvenile courts follow a different set of rules and procedures compared to adult court. Criminal charges are also different in the juvenile system. Juvenile offenses are also not called crimes; they are generally called “delinquent acts.”
When a juvenile displays certain behavior such as habitual truancy, repeated offenses, running away, or failing to obey parental authority, they can be classified as “incorrigible.”
“Incorrigible acts” are juvenile offenses that are typically not considered a crime in adult court. Examples may include truancy and alcohol consumption. These offenses have light sentencing – called disposition in juvenile court – and are neither misdemeanors nor felonies.
Despite a difference in terminology, juveniles can be charged with a range of misdemeanor offenses. Common juvenile misdemeanor crimes include:
While juvenile detention is possible, especially for repeat juvenile offenders, these offenses are usually punished with community service, mandatory courses, probation, and fines.
Common juvenile felony crimes in Phoenix include:
Juveniles charged with felonies face the most serious repercussions including the possibility of the case being transferred to adult criminal court. Some cases are automatically sent to adult court. Prosecutors have the discretion to try a juvenile 14 or older as an adult for any class 1 or 2 felonies, some class 3 felonies, and dangerous offenses that are class 4-6 felonies.
Juvenile felonies that are tried in juvenile court may come with probation, community service, counseling, and juvenile detention.
Juvenile courts have greater discretion over choosing appropriate punishments and treatment options for juvenile offenders. Confinement to a juvenile detention center is generally not the first choice unless the juvenile is deemed a threat to themself or others.
In juvenile cases, there are no mandatory sentencing requirements. A judge can consider input from family members, probation officers, therapists, social workers, and others to consider alternatives to juvenile detention.
This may include:
If your child is sentenced to detention by the judge, it may take one of three forms:
Most juveniles charged with delinquency are eligible for “pre-filing diversion.” This includes programs that are designed to avoid repeat criminal or delinquent behavior. More than 80% of juveniles placed in these programs in Maricopa County complete their program.
JIPS is a program, established by ARS §8-351, that works as a structured juvenile probation program that emphasizes home detention, education, treatment, and work. Participants in the program must spend at least 32 hours per week in specific activities like school, a treatment program, or community service. Juveniles considered at high risk of reoffending and those adjudicated to a second felony can be placed in this program.
In some cases, a juvenile arrested in Phoenix is tried as an adult rather than tried in the juvenile system. This can happen when a judge grants a waiver of the juvenile system that allows a minor to be charged in adult court.
Violent crimes are more likely to be tried in the adult criminal justice system. Juvenile repeat offenders may also be subject to this waiver. If a juvenile 14 or older is charged with a felony with two prior felonies, they may also be tried in adult court.
According to the Maricopa County Superior Court, juvenile delinquents between 15 and 18 charged with the following crimes will be tried as adults:
If your child is tried as an adult, the potential penalties with conviction are usually harsher. However, there may be advantages. Being tried as an adult can give your child additional constitutional protections including the right to a jury trial.
Unless your child’s juvenile conviction is expunged, it will remain on their record for the rest of their life. Even conviction for a minor juvenile crime can impact your child’s future and it will be visible to employers, landlords, colleges, banks, and more.
Juvenile offenses should be taken seriously, even if your child is not at risk of being tried as an adult. Effective legal representation for a juvenile will focus not only on building a strong defense but also on exploring options for alternative sentencing and leniency.
At Orent Law Offices, our goal is to help your child avoid being charged as an adult and the harsh penalty of juvenile detention. We will work with counselors, psychologists, and other experts to keep the focus on rehabilitation, not incarceration. We will seek diversion programs that can help your child get the help they need.
If your child has been charged with a serious felony offense, we will contest transferring the proceedings to adult court. There may be many viable defense strategies depending on the type of charge your child is facing including illegal search and seizure, lack of intent, and lack of knowledge.
When your child is charged with a crime, it’s important to act quickly. An experienced Phoenix juvenile defense lawyer will seek a dismissal, informal intervention, or the most lenient possible sentence for your child. At Orent Law Offices, we have decades of experience helping juvenile offenders get the help they need and stay out of detention facilities and jail.
Contact our law office today to schedule a free case evaluation with a juvenile criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix, AZ who will fight for your child’s freedom and future.