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About the Arizona Juvenile Court System

If you are a parent of child who is under 18 and he or she has befriended the “wrong crowd,” or you have begun to question their morals and ethics, you may be concerned about your child committing a crime, getting arrested, and being at the whim of the courts.

These are all valid concerns and the fact that you’re having them proves that you are a good parent. What if something were to go wrong, what would happen to your son or daughter? Continue reading as we offer a brief explanation of the juvenile court system.

In the United States we have the juvenile court system and the adult court system. Generally, if a child or teen commits a crime before their 18th birthday, they will be under the jurisdiction of the juvenile courts, but not always.

If a young offender commits a serious felony, such as murder, or if they continue to commit crimes, they may be handed off to the adult court system.

Arizona’s Juvenile Justice System

Each state handles juvenile cases differently. In Arizona, juvenile offenders are separated into two categories: 1) incorrigible youths, and 2) delinquent youths.

Under ARS § 8-201, an “incorrigible” youth is one who refuses to obey their parent or a guardian, they violate their curfew, they refuse to attend school, or they smoke cigarettes.

On the other hand, a “delinquent” youth is under 18, but if they were an adult, they would be charged with a crime listed under Title 13 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. So, being classified as delinquent is more serious than being incorrigible.

Can a teenager be tried as an adult?

Yes, it is possible for a teenager to be tried as an adult in Arizona, however, these situations are usually reserved for youth who commit the most serious offenses. Under ARS § 13-501, if a young offender between the ages of 15 and 18 commits one of the following crimes, he or she WILL be tried as an adult:

In addition to the above, if a youth is 14 years or older and he or she has been convicted in Juvenile Court on two prior felonies, and he or she is arrested again for a new felony, they MAY be tried in the adult court system.

In such situations, the youth may be tried in adult criminal court when the County Attorney believes that it’s necessary to protect the community.

A County Attorney may want the young offender tried in adult court when any of the following apply: 1) a deadly weapon was used, 2) it was a crime against the person, 3) someone was injured because of the juvenile’s actions, 4) the offense was gang-related, 5) the juvenile is mature, or 6) the youth has a poor history in the juvenile system.

If your son or daughter is in trouble with the law, contact the Law Offices of Joshua S. Davidson, PLC to speak with a former prosecutor. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and offer free consultations.