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My Child Committed a Serious Crime, Will They Be Tried as an Adult?

As many parents in Phoenix are aware, sometimes even the best parenting cannot prevent a child from landing on the wrong side of the law. Whether a child succumbed to peer pressure, joined a local gang, or simply ran with the wrong crowd of kids, any of these factors can contribute to juvenile delinquency.

If you are a parent with a troubled child, you may want to familiarize yourself with the terms “incorrigible” and “delinquent.” Under ARS § 8-201, an “incorrigible” youth is one who is a runaway, truant, who violates curfew, or smokes cigarettes, or refuses to obey his or her parent or guardian.

Under ARS § 8-201, a “delinquent” is a youth who, if they were an adult, could be charged with a crime under Title 13 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. For juvenile delinquents between the ages of 8 and 17, they are under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court.

Which youths are tried in adult criminal court?

If a youth is between the ages of 15 and 18, and they commit any of the following crimes, or any other violent offense, they WILL be tried in the adult criminal court (ARS § 13-501).

If a youth is at least 14 years of age and they have been convicted in Juvenile Court of two prior felonies, and they are subsequently arrested for a third felony, they MAY be tried in adult criminal court; however, this is up to the discretion of the county attorney, and depends if the child poses a threat to public safety.

In some cases a county attorney may want to try another juvenile in adult criminal court, and if so they would have to file a motion to transfer. Before allowing the transfer, the juvenile court judge will ask:

  • Was a deadly instrument or weapon used?
  • Was anyone injured by the youth’s actions?
  • Was the crime against a person?
  • Was the offense gang-related?
  • How mature is the juvenile?
  • What is the juvenile’s mental and emotional state?
  • Does the juvenile have any priors?

This basically summarizes how juvenile cases are handled in Arizona. If your son or daughter is in trouble with the law, contact the Law Offices of Joshua S. Davidson, PLC to schedule a confidential, free consultation.