Juvenile Laws and Crimes in Arizona
In Arizona, the specific laws written for people under 18 years of age constitute juvenile laws. There are juvenile laws governing:
- Language in school
- Running away
Additionally, juveniles can be held responsible for shoplifting, assault, threatening or intimidating, theft, or being an accomplice to a crime.
The Juvenile Justice Process
If a juvenile is arrested, they have certain rights in the situation, just as an adult does. Those include the right to remain silent, to be represented by a lawyer, and to have a hearing of their case within twenty-four hours of the arrest.
If a juvenile was charged with a first or second offense misdemeanor, including shoplifting, possession of alcohol or marijuana, disorderly conduct, or fighting, then he or she may be referred to teen court to be sentenced by a jury of his or her peers.
When a Juvenile Can Be Tried as an Adult
Some juvenile crimes are so serious that they require the youth to be tried as an adult. If a juvenile who is fourteen or older commits a felony offense, he or she will be served with a written notice about the consequences of committing another felony. If that juvenile does commit another felony, the consequences could include incarceration, Juvenile Intensive Probation, or prosecution in adult court.
Additionally, there are other circumstances when a juvenile will be automatically transferred to adult court. This would happen if the juvenile is:
- Age 15 or older and a chronic felony offender
- Age 15 or older and charged with violent crimes
- Age 14 or older and charged with certain serious offenses, or a chronic felony offender (if the county attorney decides to prosecute the juvenile at that level)
- Is requested to be transferred from the juvenile court by the county attorney, and the judge agrees that transferring the juvenile to adult court for criminal prosecution would be best for public safety
Depending on the crime committed, there are a variety of possible penalties for juveniles. These include:
- Paying a fine or restitution
- Writing an essay or completing another punishment
- Attending an educational class
- Completing community service hours
The judge could also put the juvenile on probation, where a probation officer would check up on the juvenile every month for a year or even longer. The judge also has the option of ordering the juvenile to be on house arrest for six months, followed by six months of standard probation. In some cases, a judge will send the juvenile to a residential treatment center.
The worst punishment for juveniles is that the court can order them to be committed to the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections until he or she turns 18.