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Juvenile Court Process

A juvenile under the Phoenix court system is one who is between the age of eight years and eighteen-years old. A person between these ages who is charged with a criminal offense is considered a ‘delinquent,’ and the juvenile court process will handle their case.

The Juvenile Department of Phoenix

The Juvenile Department in Phoenix has a mission to create a community free of crime. Their goal is for all children to reach their potential with the loving support of a safe, functional, and permanent family.

When dealing with crimes committed by juveniles, or delinquents, it is the goal of the Juvenile Department to administer justice through an impartial and comprehensive delivery of services to both the families and the children. Part of their mission is to deliver this justice to the victims of crime and the community, so that the children can reach their potential. They also strive to have victims restored, and the community and families being able to function in the best interest of the child.

What Happens When a Child Goes Before the Juvenile Court Process?

If your child has been arrested for committing a crime, their case is going to be handled differently than an adult who is facing this charge. In most instances, the child is returned to the custody of their parent until a hearing can be scheduled in front of the judge.

You will want to contact Phoenix Criminal Attorney as soon as possible so that evidence can be gathered to present at the hearing. Your attorney is going to be given a chance to present evidence that challenges the allegations made against your child. There will be no jury present in this case, a judge alone will decide if your child committed a juvenile offense or not. After this determination, the judge will then decide what interventions are needed to rehabilitate your child.

The judge presiding over a juvenile trial is given a great deal of discretion when they impose sentencing on a juvenile. They will make their recommendation based on the facts presented to them regarding the nature of the crime and the needs of your child. Some proposals could include:

  • Probation
  • Family counseling
  • Community service
  • Drug and alcohol rehabilitation
  • If the offense is serious enough, they could impose juvenile detention

You will want a strong legal representation present at your child’s hearing. Phoenix Criminal Attorney understands the impact these charges will have on your child’s future and will work diligently with the Juvenile Court Judge to reach an outcome that you and your child agree with.

How Long Can a Juvenile Be Held?

If a youth is placed in detention after being arrested for a crime, they must receive a hearing within twenty-four hours. At this hearing, the judge will determine whether they should be kept in detention or released to the custody of their parents.

  • Rule 23 Under Arizona Revised Statutes for Rules of Procedure for the Juvenile Court

Anyone who brings a juvenile to the juvenile detention facility must make a report to an authorized juvenile court officer stating the reasons the youth should be detained.

Once the juvenile has reached the detention facility, the authorized juvenile court officer will:

  • Advise the youth of the reasons surrounding their admission
  • Notify their parents, guardians, or whoever has custody rights of them, the reason for their admission. These persons shall be informed of the location, time, and date of the detention hearing.
  • If a person responsible for the juvenile cannot be reached, the detention hearing can be held without their presence.
  • There must be a written record of how the notification was made and the time it was made.
  • If it is determined the juvenile’s conduct could endanger the safety of other detained juveniles, they may be restricted contact with others.
  • The juvenile must be advised they have the right to call a parent, guardian, or someone who has custodial rights over them. They must also be advised they have a right to counsel immediately after being placed in a detention facility.
  • The juvenile must be informed of their right to visitation by a parent, guardian, or someone who has custodial rights, as well as their counsel. After an initial visit, all other visits must be done during regular visiting hours or have a special appointment secured.
  • Under Rule 23, no juvenile should be kept over a twenty-four hour period, unless there is a petition that supports delinquent or incorrigible conduct, or there is a criminal case complaint being filed. Unless ordered by the court, after the hearing, the juvenile cannot be held for more than twenty-four hours. If a hearing is not scheduled within the twenty-four hours, the juvenile must be released from detention to the custody of their parent, guardian, or another person with custodial rights.
    • Definition of Delinquency Under Arizona Law

      A delinquent youth is someone who, if at an adult age, could be charged with a crime listed under Title 13 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. (ARS 8-201)

      They are a youth who is at least fourteen-years-old and has been in front of the Juvenile Court two previous times for a prior felony and is again arrested for another felony. This individual may now be tried as an adult if the County Attorney feels it is in the best interest of the public.

      They are a youth between the ages of fifteen and eighteen-years-old who has committed a murder in the first or second-degree, forcibly assaulted their victim, committed an armed robbery or aggravated driving offense, or any other crime considered as a violent offense. This individual will then be tried as an adult in the criminal court system.

The Detention Hearing in the Juvenile Court Process

There must be probable cause present for the allegations in a petition, referral, or complaint filed by law enforcement in order to schedule a detention hearing in juvenile court. This probable cause must also be accompanied by a legal affidavit or testimony sworn under oath regarding the allegations.

An Arizona Ticket and Complaint is sufficient as an affidavit. The affidavit can serve as the oath before the judge. The victim involved in the crime also has the right to be heard during the detention hearing. The juvenile will be recommended for detention if it is believed they committed the acts alleged in the complaint, petition, or referral, and the judge has reason to believe there is probable cause present that:

  • The juvenile will not present themselves at a hearing
  • It is believed the juvenile will commit an offense that may cause harm to themselves or others
  • The juvenile must be held for another jurisdiction
  • It is in the best interest of the public or the juvenile themselves that they remain in custody
  • The juvenile must be held for the filing of a complaint according to A.R.S. 13-501

Release from Detention in the Juvenile Court Process

The court can deem it is necessary to release a juvenile from detention during the hearing. It can also be deemed there are essential conditions to the release, and the judge will decide which are appropriate, determined by the facts presented of the crime.

If the juvenile violates any of the conditions set forth as part of the release or fails to appear at future court proceedings, it could result in a warrant for their arrest. Upon arrest, the juvenile will be returned to detention, and the courts will be allowed to proceed with future hearings without the presence of the juvenile. The victim involved in the alleged crime will be given a copy of the terms and conditions of the juvenile’s release.

Violating Conditions of Release in the Juvenile Court Process

A juvenile probation officer will be assigned your child’s case upon their release from detention. This officer will be responsible for supervising your child. The prosecutor, in the case, can submit a petition or written request to revoke the release if they feel there is probable cause to show your child has violated any condition of their release.

The request will state the conduct involved by your child, which is alleged to have violated the conditions set forth upon release. The courts shall act per the requirements of the rules. The victim in the case can also file a request with the courts if they feel conditions for the release are being violated.

Why You Need an Attorney Present at Detention Hearing in Juvenile Court Process

When your child is charged as a juvenile for having allegedly committed a crime, it is imperative for their well-being to have a strong legal defense. Your Phoenix Criminal Attorney can be present from the beginning of the case and present evidence that may decrease your child’s time in detention. There is evidence that long confinement of juvenile offenders does significant harm to the individual.

There are more than 130,000 youths detained in the U.S. every year, with more than 70,000 in a detention facility on any given day. There is little known whether or not this detention deters future crimes or interrupts social formation in a manner that will decrease their likelihood to commit future criminal behavior.

Estimations made on more than 35,000 juvenile offenders over a ten-year period from a large urban county in the U.S. suggest juvenile incarceration resulted in lower high school completion and higher adult incarcerations rates, including violent crimes. It was determined through this study, incarceration could be very disruptive, and significantly reduce the likelihood of these individuals ever returning to high school. For those that would return to school, it significantly increased the risk of them being classified as having behavioral or emotional disorders.

In just the State of Arizona, it was discovered that of the juveniles incarcerated as juvenile offenders:

  • More than thirty percent suffered a serious mental illness
  • More than twenty percent were placed in special education classes upon returning to school
  • More than fifteen percent were both dependent and delinquent
  • More than fifteen percent arrived in detention with zero high school credits

The incarceration of a juvenile may only aggravate the issues of mental illness and school delinquency. Juveniles are also found to be minorities from lower-income households in most cases presented. Keeping a juvenile in jail or detention for an extended period of time is proving to be damaging and disruptive. This punishment is creating life-long challenges that your child will find challenging to overcome.

With the experienced legal counsel from Phoenix Criminal Attorney, we can fight these charges together, find the evidence,  and present the arguments needed to reduce or eliminate the time your child will spend in a juvenile detention facility.

Juvenile Intervention Programs for the Juvenile Court Process in Arizona

Some of the more common crimes committed by juveniles include:

  • Shoplifting
    • Shoplifting is defined as the action of removing goods from a merchant without paying the purchase price. It also includes removing the price tag from an item and altering it with a lower price tag with the intent to deprive the merchant of the fair value or of the merchandise itself.
  • Assault
    • A simple assault under Arizona law is recklessly or knowingly causing physical harm to another. It can also include deliberately touching another with the intent to injure them, provoke them, or insult them. Causing another to reasonably fear they are in danger of bodily harm is another form of assault.
  • Being an accomplice to another’s crime
    • Under the laws of Arizona, you are criminally liable for the same crimes as the principal party committing a crime if you agree, counsel, aid, or attempt to help that person in committing or planning a crime.
  • Intimidating or threatening another
    • It is illegal to threaten or intimidate another person by your conduct or verbally. It is a crime when one uses threats or intimidation to cause physical injury to another or cause serious damage to another’s property.
  • Theft
    • Under the laws of Arizona, a person has committed the crime of theft if they knowingly and without the authority to do so, take any of these actions; obtained compensable services without paying for them, taken control of another’s property or agreed to pay for services and then withhold payment after completion of said services.

For crimes such as these, and other minor offenses, juvenile intervention programs can help to rehabilitate juveniles. These programs intend to prevent future crimes without incarcerating the individual. There are several intervention programs established in Arizona:

  • Be Awesome

    The Be Awesome program is offered in Maricopa County and is delivered directly through a school mentorship

  • Pima County Juvenile Court Center

    This program is available to court-referred juveniles and is used as an alternative to incarceration

  • Arizona Youth Partnership

    This is a program offered as an alternative to detention in Mohave County

  • Community Bridges

    This program is a pre-arrest diversion program used statewide to address behavioral, mental and physical health

There are additional juvenile intensive probation programs that hold juveniles responsible for their actions without incarcerating them. They are required to attend these programs as mandated by the judge presiding over their case and are provided with a supervised, structured environment. One such program is the Juvenile Intensive Probation Program or JIPS:

  • Juvenile Intensive Probation Program

    The JIPS (Juvenile Intensive Probation) has been designed to divert juvenile offenders who have been deemed in need of a high-structured, closely supervised program. It is used when other facilities are over-crowded, or for those who have been ordered to leave their home environment.

    The JIPS program shows juvenile offenders how to be accountable for their actions and what their consequences will be if they do not perform as productive rehabilitated persons.

    The program was initiated in 1987, and since then has given intensive supervision to thousands of Arizona juveniles who might have been removed from their homes for the crimes they committed. The services are provided to the juvenile within their family environment and are combined with surveillance, community protection, and accountability. This program has proven to be an effective alternative to juveniles who have received out-of-home placements.

    At the disposition hearing, a judge will decide what happens to your child. Based on their criminal activity, they can place them in a JIPS program. They will make their decision based on the facts and circumstances of the case, and the report given by the probation officer.

These resources are intended to help juveniles as a means of escaping detention facilities, and as a means of preventing future juvenile crimes.

Due to the changes in Arizona laws in 2007, which brings more challenges to juveniles having their cases automatically transferred to an adult court, your child must have an experienced attorney on their side. You want Phoenix Criminal Attorney handling this case to provide them with a quality defense. We understand what is necessary under Arizona Laws to present a case of a juvenile into an adult criminal court, and will do everything in our power to defend your child’s rights and future.

Where to Find Legal Representation for a Juvenile Court Process Near Me

If your child is facing a Juvenile Court Process, you need the help of the Phoenix Criminal Lawyer. Call us today at 602-551-8092, so we can begin building the best defense strategy possible to protect your child. As an experienced juvenile defense attorney, we will make sure the State and all other agents are ensuring your child’s rights. We will also work diligently to protect your child from detention and pursue rehabilitative options to safeguard their well-being and future.

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