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Juvenile Detention

Juvenile DetentionWhen 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.

Juvenile Jurisdiction in Arizona

Juvenile Jurisdiction in ArizonaIn 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.

Cases Where Youths May Be Tried as Adults in Arizona

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.

The Juvenile Detention Process in Arizona

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.

When Detention May Be Recommended

Detention may be recommended by the judge if:

  • The juvenile’s best interests, or the best interests of society, warrant the detention.
  • The juvenile is unlikely to show up to future court proceedings.
  • The juvenile may commit a further offense or cause harm if they are not detained.

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.

The Possibility of Release

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.

Consequences of Violating Set Conditions

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.

Potential Consequences in an Arizona Juvenile Case

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:

  • Juvenile probation: This is an alternative to incarceration that aims to rehabilitate the juvenile while monitoring their progress and behavior.
  • Substance abuse counseling and evaluation: This counseling seeks to address and treat any substance abuse issues to prevent future offenses.
  • Curfews: Imposing curfews can help reduce the chances of the juvenile engaging in further criminal activity.
  • Fines: These monetary penalties serve as a punishment to deter future crimes.
  • Community service: This consequence aims to teach the offender the value of work and providing for their community.
  • Juvenile detention: In serious cases, a juvenile may be sentenced to detention if it is determined that alternative measures will not suffice.

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.

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