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When children are charged with breaking the law, these offenses are generally referred to as “delinquent acts” rather than crimes. This distinction is important as it reflects the broader philosophy behind the juvenile justice system.
Unlike the adult criminal justice system, which often focuses on punishment, the juvenile justice system is focused on rehabilitation. The goal is to provide young people with the support and resources they need to make better choices and become productive members of society.
In Arizona, the juvenile court has jurisdiction over children aged 8 to 18, although, in certain circumstances, youths aged 15 or older may be tried as adults. If a child is charged with a delinquent act, the case will be handled through the juvenile court, which typically has a more informal and flexible approach to dealing with these matters.
There are specific circumstances where a juvenile may be tried as an adult in Arizona. For example, past the age of 14, youths charged with certain serious offenses, such as murder, sexual assault, or robbery, can be automatically tried in adult court.
Additionally, Arizona law allows for juveniles aged 14 and older who are charged with a felony to potentially be tried as adults if it is deemed necessary to protect public safety. In these cases, the judge will again consider factors such as the child’s age, maturity, criminal history, and nature of the offense before deciding whether or not to transfer the case to adult court.
When a juvenile is arrested in Arizona, they may remain in detention for a period of 24 hours before appearing in court for a hearing. During this time, a lawyer is appointed to represent the minor, allowing them to assert their legal rights and receive informed counsel throughout the process.
While the initial detention period is set at 24 hours, minors are not to be held beyond this time without a good reason stated in a filed petition. If the minor’s guardians or close relatives are not present to pick up the child at the end of the 24-hour period, the court may discharge the child to the Department of Child Safety.
During the hearing, the juvenile will have an opportunity to present their side of the story. This is a crucial aspect of the process, as it allows the judge to consider both the alleged offense and any mitigating factors that may exist.
Detention may be recommended by the judge if:
The judge will also consider the juvenile’s age, criminal history, physical and mental maturity, and other relevant factors.
These factors are critically important in the decision-making process, as they help the judge weigh the potential benefits and risks associated with detaining the juvenile.
If a judge does not find sufficient reason to detain the juvenile, they can opt to release them. However, this release will likely be subject to certain conditions. These may include requirements such as attending school or counseling, adhering to a curfew, or refraining from contact with specific individuals.
By imposing these conditions, the judge is providing the juvenile with an opportunity to demonstrate that they can follow rules and behave responsibly while also taking measures to protect the community.
It’s important for juveniles and their families to understand that violating any of the conditions set forth by the judge can have serious consequences. If a violation occurs, an arrest warrant may be triggered, and future hearings can take place without the juvenile’s presence. This can result in more severe penalties and the loss of the juvenile’s opportunity to present their defense.
In Arizona, the juvenile justice system is designed to handle young individuals who are accused of committing criminal offenses.
Some of the potential consequences a juvenile might face include the following:
The juvenile detention process in Arizona is complex, and understanding the key aspects of this process is essential for those involved. If you and your child need help with a juvenile case, contact the Orent Law Offices, PLC, in Phoenix, at (480) 656-7301 to schedule a free consultation.