Arizona has a juvenile court system that has been set up to handle criminal cases where the defendant is a minor. Not all minors will qualify to be a part of the juvenile court program; depending on the age of the defendant and the nature of the charges against him, a minor could be charged as either an adult or juvenile. The benefit to the juvenile court system is that it is far more forgiving than the criminal court system. The juvenile court system focuses on rehabilitation; judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and probation officers all work closely with each other and with the parents and minor defendant to get the defendant back on track.
During the pendency of the case, the judge will get regular status updates from juvenile probation on the minor defendant’s progress. The judge is looking for signs of progress: obeying parents and teachers, improving grades, volunteer or community activities, whether the defendant is working, the defendant’s plans after high school and what they are doing to prepare for the future.
If the defendant is successful at the juvenile level, they will most likely be placed on a period of probation. Once they reach the age of majority, their juvenile records will be sealed.
If you are the parent of a child who has been accused of a crime, please call us today. Our attorneys are familiar with the juvenile process and will be happy to discuss your case with you at no charge.