Like adults, minors also need strong representation when faced with a possible conviction. The juvenile court system can be complex and no child should be left without proper legal counsel. In Arizona, a juvenile is any person under the age of 18, as per ARS §8-201.13.
When minors commit any type of crime in the state, they are subject to the laws of the juvenile court. It is important to understand that these laws are similar to those of the adult judicial system, but tend to sway more towards rehabilitation rather than incarceration. Minors also have certain privileges not available to adults, such as having their parents present during police questioning.
If your child has been charged for a crime, a Peoria juvenile defense attorney will help ensure that the minor’s rights remain protected. The seasoned legal team at JacksonWhite Law will help your family build a strong case to reduce the likelihood of a conviction and keep the juvenile crime sealed from public record.
Peoria Juvenile Defense Practice Areas
Juvenile courts in Peoria are governed by the Arizona Children’s Code. However, these courts maintain their own set of rules and procedures and have some flexibility in terms of consequences for criminal charges.
As juvenile crimes refer to crimes committed by minors, it is generally assumed that the alleged offenders do not always make good decisions or consider the consequences of their actions as their brains are not yet fully developed. Therefore, the court will often look at factors like family history, past charges, and the age of the victim at the time of the crime.
Court judges may also accept input from adults who have had direct contact with the minor, such as social workers, probation officers, therapists, and family members before delivering a verdict.
The court system often prefers to find an alternative to detention if possible. This may include placing the minor with a trusted family member, group home, or mental health facility, ordering mandatory anger management or impulse control training, assigning community service, requesting a transfer of schools, or putting the minor on probation or house arrest. In some cases, the minor is given time to reflect in a juvenile detention center.
Depending on the age of the minor, juvenile crimes can range from theft to violent felonies. Some of the most common juvenile crimes include:
- Assault and battery
- Traffic violations
- Drug use or trafficking
- Sexual misconduct
- Use of fake identification
- Skipping school or truancy
- Gang-related activities
Penalties for Juvenile Crimes in Peoria
Your child’s defense strategy will play a direct role in their punishment. Depending on the crime and the age of the alleged offender, a minor in Arizona may face fines, costly educational classes, registration as a sex offender, drug and alcohol counseling, probation, community service, confinement to juvenile detention, and/or time in county jail or prison.
In some cases, a minor may be treated as an adult if they are between the ages of 14 and 17. In addition, they must have committed a serious offense, such as first degree murder, second degree murder, forcible sexual assault, a violent felony offense, a repeat felony offense, or armed robbery.
In Arizona juvenile court, a violent felony offense can refer to a number of crimes, such as aggravated assault, drive-by shootings, discharge of a firearm in a structure, and similar serious violent offenses.
Defenses for Juvenile Crimes in Peoria
Like any other crime committed in Arizona, juvenile crimes are typically investigated following a complaint and a preliminary report. The investigative process may include a close examination of the crime scene, locating witnesses, and ultimately the questioning of suspects. If your child is questioned about a crime, it is important to remember that a minor has the same rights and protections under the Constitution as an adult.
Defending a juvenile in court can differ significantly from defending an adult. A Peoria juvenile defense attorney must approach the situation carefully to do what is in the best interest of the client.
While the age of the alleged offender is often a primary defense, there are also other strategies commonly used by juvenile defense attorneys. A defense team may argue that the alleged offender was threatened or coerced into performing a crime, was not responsible for the outcome of the crime, or was not giving his or her Constitutional rights by law enforcement.
Call the Peoria JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.