The juvenile court system in Arizona was created with the understanding that children and adolescents who engage in illegal activities are developmentally different from adult criminals. By creating a separate court system for young offenders, Arizona recognized that young people have not completed the maturation process and are not able to exercise adult judgment consistently, and they are therefore prone to make errors in judgment that sometimes end in entanglements with the legal system.
Juvenile courts focus on rehabilitation
The focus of the juvenile court system is to provide services to help youth who have violated the law to turn their lives around and get back on track, without having to carry the stigma of a criminal record throughout life. These might include group, individual and family counseling, substance abuse rehabilitation programs, community service, and other options. Diversionary programs are sometimes available that allow the charges to be dropped upon successful completion.
A criminal conviction can make it difficult to get into college, receive scholarship money, join the military, or get a job. Young people faced with these kinds of hurdles are much more likely to reoffend, because it may seem that the path to a normal and productive life has been permanently denied them.
Juvenile court terminology and procedure
The juvenile court system in Arizona has its own vocabulary that differs from the terminology used in the adult courts. A juvenile is not convicted of a crime in a trial, but is adjudicated delinquent in an adjudication hearing. A juvenile may not be sentenced to a prison term, but the disposition of the case might be detention in a juvenile facility.
A juvenile is entitled to most of the constitutional protections that an adult is when facing charges. However, a juvenile is not granted bail, but may be released to the custody of parents, and is not tried before a jury in the juvenile system.
Juveniles in the adult system have higher rate of recidivism
Unfortunately, too many juveniles between 14 and 17 who are accused of serious crimes are transferred to the adult system. Research has shown that the likelihood of reoffending is dramatically higher once a young person has entered the adult penal system. In essence, it increases the odds of creating a habitual offender.
Experienced juvenile defense counsel provides improved outcomes
Jeremy Giegle at Jackson White Law has the experience and knowledge to keep young people in Arizona’s juvenile system whenever possible and to offer a thorough and rigorous defense to all juveniles facing charges. He firmly believes in the law of second chances and is committed to helping young people avoid the stigma of a criminal conviction that will follow them through life. He works tirelessly to get children and teens the counseling and guidance they need to get back on track to becoming good citizens leading productive and meaningful lives.
Call Jeremy today to review your child’s case and analyze the options that are available to help your child who is facing charges that could have a permanent, negative, lifelong impact if not handled properly. Put experience on your child’s side for the sake of his or her future.
We defend juvenile cases in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tucson, Mesa, Gilbert, and throughout the entire state of Arizona.