If your child has been charged with a crime, don’t make the mistake of thinking they won’t face serious consequences just because of their age. While the juvenile court system operates differently than the court system for adults, penalties can still be severe in some cases.
A juvenile may receive a reduced sentence if they’ve committed a violent crime. But the conviction will stay on their record and they may even have to serve time in a detention center. It’s best to speak with a juvenile defense attorney in Mesa as soon as possible if your child is in legal trouble. They’ll work with you to formulate a suitable defense strategy and aim to get the charges reduced or dropped.
Juvenile Delinquency in Mesa
Juvenile delinquency refers to unlawful conduct committed by minors (children under 18). Some of this conduct would count as criminal if the offender was an adult, while other acts (such as skipping school) are considered minor by comparison.
While criminal cases for adults involve a jury, a minor will have their case settled by a judge. In juvenile cases, the main goal is rehabilitating the adolescent while also ensuring the safety of the public. Juvenile crimes don’t come with mandatory sentencing, and first-time offenders often qualify for various diversion programs.
Minors may be tried as adults for very severe offenses, though most unlawful acts are handled through the juvenile system. If a minor’s delinquency is determined to result from a negative home life, the system may treat them as a non-offender.
Juvenile Penalties in Mesa
As mentioned, the juvenile court system functions differently than the adult system in that it places more emphasis on rehabilitation than punishment. As a result, penalties are less harsh. Below are some common consequences for acts of juvenile delinquency:
- Serving time in a correctional facility for youth
- Undergoing rehabilitation or counseling
- Fulfilling community service
- Paying restitution or fines
- Serving probation
These penalties exist in place of prison or jailtime, under the premise that rehabilitating a child could make them less likely to reoffend later on. However, some circumstances will justify trying a minor as an adult.
If your child is eligible for probation, they’ll have to meet strict requirements such as fulfilling community service hours, participating in school functions, or getting a job. Additionally, they may have to undergo electronic monitoring and drug or alcohol testing.
Restitution and Fines
If your child’s crime led to damage (to property, for example), they might have to pay for restitution. For severe damage, restitution can be costly, but in other cases, it might not be necessary. You must cover these costs, including surcharges and fees for the legal process, in full to avoid further consequences.
Minors who are caught committing serious juvenile crimes may have to serve time. Adults are subjected to incarceration for severe offenses, while juveniles get “detention.” The length of the detention term depends on the offense and details surrounding the case. Your child may have to fulfill probation once they’ve completed their time in juvenile detention.
When is a Juvenile Delinquent Tried as an Adult?
There are several crimes that will lead to a child between 15 and 18 years old being tried as an adult, such as:
- Armed robbery
- Aggravated driving
- First-degree murder
- Second-degree murder
- Forcible sexual assault
- Other violent offenses
Even if the minor didn’t commit one of the crimes listed above, they may still face the same consequences as an adult if the court deems it necessary to protect the community or recognizes probable cause to transfer the case. If the adolescent has already had two trials for felony offenses and are arrested for another, they may also be tried.
By working with a juvenile defense attorney in Mesa, your child could have their charges dismissed or reduced. With an experienced legal professional on your side, they may not have to be tried as an adult. The sooner you contact us, the better.
JacksonWhite Law in Mesa, Arizona
JacksonWhite Law has been serving clients in the Mesa area since 1983. We offer a full range of legal assistance and have plenty of experience navigating cases just like yours with great success. As one of the biggest firms in the East Valley, we work to provide advanced, insightful legal solutions to families, businesses, and individuals throughout the state of Arizona.
From fines, to probation and jail time, being in legal trouble is no laughing matter. It could harm your child’s opportunities in life and even make it harder to find a place to live. Speak with one of our skilled lawyers today to get answers to your questions and to protect your son or daughter’s future.
JacksonWhite Mesa Office
Our Mesa office is on the northwest corner of W. Pepper and N. Center Street. You may park on Pepper or in the parking garage nearby.
The Mesa city court is located on the northwest corner of Pomeroy Street and 1st Avenue. You’ll find a public parking garage behind the building, which you can access from Pomeroy or Main Street.
Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.