If your child has been arrested for a crime in Arizona, contact an experienced Phoenix juvenile crime attorney who understands the juvenile justice system in Arizona and can formulate a defense strategy to preserve your child’s rights. One of the most common mistakes parents and children face when handling juvenile crime charges is the belief that since children are minors, any conviction- whether it is a Phoenix misdemeanor or indictable offense- will be relatively minor and non-eventful. However, this is not further from the truth. While juveniles often do receive reduced sentences if they are convicted of a violent offense, a conviction will go on their record and they will serve time, depending on the offense.
Juvenile crime punishments have taken on a new ferocity within many states’ court systems, as legislators contend that juveniles should be punished just as harshly as adults in certain situations, despite the ability of potential rehabilitation. Arizona is no different and has set laws in place which not only punish juvenile offenders but also effectively dampen their chance at future rehabilitation.
As a parent dealing with a juvenile criminal court case in Phoenix, you need to know what to expect when it comes to attorney’s fees and court costs. Although most lawyers price their services on a case-by-case basis, you can expect the price to start around $1,500 to take your child’s case. The fees can range from $1,500 to $10,000 depending on the specifics of the case. The seriousness of the charge and whether the case has to go to trial can affect the cost of services.
Some attorneys use a flat-rate pricing system, while others charge by the hour. Hourly rates can run from $100 to $300 on average. You will most likely have to pay a retainer, or an advance fee, before the lawyer will start to work on the case. You also have the choice of retaining a public defender for the case. Public defenders are free or low-cost for criminal defendants. A public defender is better than no attorney, but generally not as experienced or committed to the case as a private defense lawyer.
You absolutely need an attorney in the juvenile courts. Receiving a delinquency conviction at a young age can change a person’s life. A lawyer can work hard to convince the courts to dismiss the charges altogether, to prove a not guilty plea, or at least to negotiate a better plea deal. A lawyer can often talk charges down to minimums, such as negotiating a felony charge down to a misdemeanor.
Hiring a lawyer who specializes in juvenile court cases can greatly affect your child’s case outcome. Your attorney may be able to avoid a juvenile record, prevent the courts from trying your child as an adult, and convince the judge to agree to better terms. Always retain a juvenile attorney to represent minors in the Phoenix juvenile courts.
Phoenix sits in a large enough county that the court system has a special juvenile court. A judge is assigned to the court to hear all juvenile cases. Juvenile records are often sealed from the public, and therefore, any trials are held in front of a judge rather than a jury. In some Arizona counties which are not as big as Maricopa County, judges from other courts simply treat juvenile cases separate from all other criminal cases.
It is important not to sit idly by if your child has been accused of a criminal offense. Regardless of your child’s age, any criminal conviction can severely tarnish their criminal record and affect their ability to get a job later in life or carry on an average life.
Violent crimes in Arizona such as murder, rape, statutory rape, and assault now lead to many juveniles charged as adults, which leads to decades spent in prison. Juvenile cases in Arizona proceed much the same as all other criminal court cases, and it is important to get in contact with a Phoenix violent crimes attorney.
If you’re a parent, it’s understandably scary when you discover your teen is being charged with a crime. One of the first questions most parents have is whether their teen is being charged as a juvenile or as an adult. The recently passed legislation makes it easier for children to be charged for their crimes as adults. Learn more about the process.
The U.S. criminal justice system charges juveniles as adults in some instances for two reasons:
Unfortunately, there isn’t really enough evidence to support either of these claims. There is research that indicates that juvenile criminals convicted in adult courts do serve longer sentences than those in the juvenile system, particularly violent offenders. However, they often only serve a fraction of their sentence – in fact, less time than they would have in a juvenile facility. A study of the criminal justice system in Texas found that juveniles sentenced in adult courts did receive more time – but the average amount of time served was only 27% of that sentence.
Another study in New York supports this finding. It found that adolescents who went through the adult justice system were more likely to be convicted and incarcerated but ultimately served an identical term to what they would have served in the juvenile system.
There is similarly little evidence to support the notion that adult sentencing reduces the amount of juvenile crime. In fact, there have only been two studies to date that study the relationship between adult sentencing and juvenile crime. These found that juvenile offenders who serve adult time aren’t in fact, “scared straight,” but more likely to recommit crimes than their juvenile-serving counterparts.
In some cases, judges may grant a “waiver” of the juvenile justice system and charge a minor directly in adult court. Generally speaking, juvenile cases subject to waiver are more serious, or involve minors who are repeat offenders. Being tried as an adult may bring a potential for harsher sentencing, but may also provide more constitutional protections.
In the majority of states, a juvenile must be at least 16 to be eligible for waiver for conventional court. In some cases, children as young as 13 years of age have been tried and convicted as adults. The courts look at a variety of factors before making a decision:
It may seem difficult to understand, but there are certain circumstances in which a juvenile being tried as an adult might encounter some advantages. Here’s why:
Of course, the adult court system also has disadvantages, the main one being harsher sentences and the inherent dangers of the prison system. Social stigma is also a concern. For further advice, consult with a defense attorney.
If your child has been arrested on suspicion of juvenile crimes, do not sit idly by while they go to court. Craig Orent of the Orent Law Offices has over 30 years of experience as a criminal defense lawyer, advising and defending clients, particularly working on juvenile cases. Juvenile cases are a unique sector of criminal defense and require a thorough understanding of the charges, the court, and the repercussions. Craig Orent understands that a criminal conviction can forever taint a juvenile’s criminal record and prevent them from experiencing an average life, all for a mistake they made when they were younger. He will work tirelessly to ensure that your child receives the best defense strategy to protect their record.