In the State of Arizona, minors under the age of 18 may be tried in juvenile court. The juvenile criminal court is separate from the adult court system. The charges, potential defenses your child has against them, and the penalties they’ll face for conviction vary from those facing adults. In some cases, juveniles as young as 15 must be tried in adult court – with severe adult consequences on the line. Juveniles are just starting out with their lives; a criminal conviction can derail their chances for success for years to come. If your child is facing juvenile criminal charges in Maricopa County you need more than a defense lawyer, you need a defense lawyer skilled in Arizona juvenile law. Call the Phoenix Law Office of Elizabeth Mullins and get personal and professional legal assistance for your child.
Juvenile Crimes in Arizona (ARS §13-501)
Arizona law makes a distinction between juveniles and adults. Regardless, children under the age of 18 can face serious consequences if convicted of juvenile crimes. In many cases, juveniles can face charges mirroring those addressed in adult court. Crimes of increased severity may be prosecuted at the adult level increasing the consequences for conviction exponentially.
The law defines juveniles as persons who haven’t yet reached an age where they can truly be held accountable for crimes. In the State of Arizona, anyone under the age of 18 is considered a juvenile yet some criminal charges remove the protections afforded by age. Under the guidelines set forth by the Arizona Judicial Branch, juveniles may be charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses. These can include, but are not limited to:
Juvenile Drug Crimes. Maricopa County prosecutes drug offenders of all ages aggressively. In Arizona, juvenile drug offenders are typically charged with:
- Drug possession. The possession of drugs, marijuana, or other intoxicants can lead to juvenile criminal charges. Juveniles are not eligible for medical marijuana under Arizona law and can be charged for possession of any amount of cannabis, in any form. Juveniles may also be charged for possession of paraphernalia, regardless if drugs are present.
- Drug distribution. Distribution doesn’t necessarily mean dealing. If your child has been arrested for distribution they may be suspected simply of offering or providing drugs to a peer. Distribution charges can vary based on the circumstances, the quantity of drugs, and more.
Underage DUI. In the State of Arizona, drivers under the age of 21 suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs may be charged with underage DUI. While adult drivers may avoid DUI charges with measurable alcohol in their system, anyone under the age of 21 measuring above 0.00% can be convicted of underage DUI. Additional charges may result for the person(s) responsible for providing the alcohol and for any other intoxicated minors in the vehicle. A number of aggravating factors can complicate underage DUI cases.
Juvenile Theft. In Arizona, juvenile theft charges are broad. These can include charges ranging from shoplifting to identity theft and carry a range of consequences for conviction. Juveniles may commit theft crimes out of ignorance or naivety, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are criminals. In many cases, juveniles can be charged with theft crimes for unknowingly receiving or possessing a stolen item. If your child has been arrested for theft, burglary, shoplifting or other juvenile theft crime get a lawyer who knows the juvenile justice system and knows how to fight back.
Violent Juvenile Crimes. Maricopa County prosecutors may pursue violent juvenile criminal charges in adult court. Children as young as age 15 may face the same penalties as a grown adult – including decades behind bars. If your child has been charged with a violent crime in Arizona, their entire future is at stake. Juvenile violent crimes are typically prosecuted as felony cases and can include:
- Assault and Battery
- Weapons Charges
- Murder Charges
- Hate Crimes
- Gang-Related Crimes
- Violent Threats
- Sexual Offenses
Phoenix criminal defense attorney Elizabeth Mullins has years of experience defending clients in both juvenile and adult court. Gain the advantage of an attorney familiar with the entire juvenile court process – contact the Phoenix Law Office of Elizabeth Mullins today.
Juvenile Sex Crimes. Juveniles can become sexually active before the age of 18. Their immaturity can lead to many different juvenile sex crimes charges. Juvenile sex crimes allegations can result from actions with no intended harm to the victim to violent criminal charges. Arizona juvenile sex crimes can include:
- Sexting (sending explicit text messages)
- Social media offenses
- Date rape
- Indecent exposure
- Statutory rape
- Sexual assault
Sentencing for Juvenile Crimes in Arizona
The differences between juvenile and adult court extend to the penalties for conviction. Your child’s defense strategy will play a large role in determining the extent of their sentencing. Depending on the crime, defense, and many other factors, juvenile offender sentences in Arizona may include:
- Probation, fines, and/or community service
- Costly education classes
- Drug and alcohol counseling
- Confinement to juvenile detention
- County jail or prison time
- Registration as a sex offender
A juvenile defense attorney can help argue your child’s case to achieve the most favorable outcome possible. Sentences can be reduced or suspended based on a successful defense strategy.
Arizona Juvenile Crimes Defense
Juveniles typically lack the wisdom and maturity to fully understand the consequences of their actions. Don’t let a poor decision today steer their course for the rest of their lives. If your child has been accused of a crime in Maricopa County or anywhere in Arizona, contact the Phoenix Law Office of Elizabeth Mullins today. Gain the advantage of a trial lawyer experienced in both juvenile and adult court.