Phoenix Juvenile Crime Lawyer

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Phoenix Juvenile Crimes Defense Attorney

Many people do not take juvenile crimes seriously until their child is arrested. This is when they realize just how much a guilty verdict for a juvenile crimes charge can affect the lives of everyone in their family. It is crucial to seek the help of a private attorney and not a public defender who can help you and your child work through the juvenile justice system and receive a positive outcome. Not hiring a juvenile criminal lawyer can lead to being pressured into a guilty plea when a strong defense could have served your case better.

At Ryan Garvey Attorneys, we have helped families just like yours and assisted children like yours in getting through the difficulties of juvenile charges. While every case is different and comes with exclusive circumstances as unique as the children we represent, the law is the same. Our attorneys are knowledgeable about the state laws that affect your case and know how to use them to your benefit rather than your detriment. Juveniles have rights too, and defending the rights of our clients is our first task right before protecting their interests through our aggressive and smart approach both in and out of the courtroom.

How Is Juvenile Court Different From Adult Court?

There are some significant differences between the juvenile court system and the adult court system in Phoenix. The nature of the charges is different, as well as the rules of the court, the laws, and the consequences.

When a juvenile commits a crime, the courts refer to them as delinquent acts. Another common term used in juvenile cases is “incorrigible.” This is a blanket term that applies to habitual acts such as truancy, disobedience of parents, running away from home, and certain other behaviors and actions. These offenses are not criminal when an adult commits them, but when juveniles commit them, they are considered crimes.

Another difference between juvenile court and adult court is that the criminal justice system for adults aims at punitive repayment of wrongs, while juvenile court is more focused on rehabilitation and training to be better rather than punishment for wrongdoings.

In adult courtrooms, criminal case verdicts are decided by a jury, which determines whether the defendant is guilty or innocent. In juvenile court cases, however, a judge makes the decision. Another key difference in juvenile cases is that there is no mandatory sentencing associated with charges in juvenile court. Instead, juveniles charged with delinquency are eligible for pre-filing diversion programs based on the unique counseling and rehabilitation needs of each individual. These programs come with penalties like community service, classes, apologies, and other punishments. However, they are more designed to teach the child how to avoid repeating their mistakes, and they have high success rates in Phoenix.

Juvenile Crimes and Punishments

Juvenile crimes tend to consist of the same charges over and over. Some of the most common charges for juvenile cases include:

  • Criminal damage such as graffiti or vandalism of property
  • Shoplifting, which can be severe depending on the price of the stolen property
  • Simple assaults such as fights between teenagers
  • Underage drinking such as minor possession or consumption
  • Drug charges, which are typically possession and use of drugs

The punishment for juvenile crimes is usually probation and evaluation and counseling for substance use, fines, curfews, and community service. In some cases, the punishment is juvenile detention.

Why Do I Need Phoenix Juvenile Crimes Lawyer?

If you’re like most parents, you want your children to grow up to be outstanding, law-abiding citizens. One of your preliminary goals may be to keep your child out of trouble and to start out with a clean record. A criminal defense lawyer is the most worthwhile resource you can have to optimize your chances of meeting these goals.

A sound and aggressive juvenile court attorney can keep your child’s record clean and sealed, mitigate or negotiate punishment, and sometimes eliminate it altogether. An experienced criminal defense lawyer who has worked on juvenile cases can help you in your ambition to steer your child toward a better path that significantly reduces the risk of your child repeating the same or similar behaviors.

As previously explained, Phoenix juvenile court operates under a different set of principles, laws, rules, and objectives than adult court does. Thus, a criminal defense attorney who only has experience in adult court cases would not be the most suitable option for a juvenile court case. Rather, an experienced juvenile criminal lawyer would be better versed in the laws of juvenile court and the optimal choice to represent your child in juvenile court.

The alternative is the potential for long-term detention, which is not recommended for juveniles. Juveniles who stay in long-term confinement have more problems in their adult lives than those juveniles who don’t. It is imperative to do whatever you can to avoid long-term confinement for your child.

Juvenile Court

The jurisdiction of juvenile court is for children between the ages of 8 and 18. There are certain crimes, though, that, if committed by a 15-year-old or older juvenile, will be charged as an adult. There are other instances in which a juvenile can be tried as an adult, either through a transfer application or for 14-year-olds charged with a felony with two prior felony convictions.

The Arrest

If your child is detained, juvenile detention is a short-term confinement. In most cases, following an arrest, a child is only held there until they see a judge, which will happen within 24 hours. When arrested, the juvenile court will appoint an attorney to your case to represent your minor when seeing the judge for the first time. The judge decides whether to release the held detainees. Most minor offenders are released, and if there is no parent or guardian to pick up the child when they are released, the child will likely be assigned to the Department of Child Safety.

Children can be detained longer if the judge believes:

  • The juvenile may be a harm to themselves or others
  • The juvenile’s life will be in danger if released
  • If the juvenile is between the ages of 15 and 18 and committed a crime for which they may be charged as an adult such as robbery, murder, sexual assault, or another violent felony

The Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections works to make a safe, crime-free community where minors are enabled to achieve their personal goals while giving them the opportunity to carry out justice for their victims’ families.


Once your child is released following their arrest, begin working with a juvenile criminal defense attorney immediately to start building a defense and gathering information and evidence to present to the judge during the hearing. Like in adult trials, the juvenile court system allows the prosecution and the defense to present evidence and challenge each other’s arguments. However, unlike in an adult court, there is no jury. Rather, a judge listens to both sides and determines, based on the evidence presented and the arguments made, which rehabilitation program is right for the child.


When determining a sentence, a judge will consider the child’s criminal history, priors, facts about the child’s interests, details of the case, and other influential considerations. Sentencing may include community service, probation, rehabilitation for drugs and alcohol, family counseling, or if the crime is severe, the judge may impose detention.

Probation Sentence

If your child receives probation as their sentence, their probation officer will be responsible for the supervision of the child and treatment of the child. If the child revokes the conditions of probation, the prosecution may submit a written petition to request detainment over probation. Whatever behavior is cited as a violation of probation terms must be cited and linked to the condition that was reportedly violated.

Detainment Sentence

To sentence a minor to be detained, the court must have probable cause along with an affidavit by the alleged victim to tell their side of the story. A judge can only sentence detainment in the following situations:

  • They believe it is in the interest of society or in the interest of the juvenile to remain in detention.
  • The juvenile refuses to present themselves during the hearing.
  • The court is holding the juvenile for another hearing.
  • The court believes the minor offender will commit this same offense or another offense, risking harm to others.

Enlisting Legal Counsel for Phoenix Juvenile Defense

Keeping your child out of court and making sure they don’t return is our primary goal. We know your concern about the issues your child is facing with juvenile misconduct and juvenile courts. We are dedicated to resolving these issues and helping you achieve your primary goal as a parent — to set your child up for a promising future. Our experience and our success rate of positive outcomes for juvenile cases give us the confidence to say we can help get your child back on the right track. Contact Ryan Garvey Attorneys today to discuss your child’s juvenile criminal defense case.

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