Gang membership and associated gang-related violence pose a serious risk to young people, who typically want to belong somewhere. The juvenile justice system faces the problem of balancing public safety with intervention and accountability when defendants under 18 face gang-related charges.
Gang-related crimes are frequently transferred to the adult system
Youth in gangs may be involved in serious crimes, which sometimes place them in jeopardy of being certified into the adult system. Arizona has tough laws for dealing with crimes that are gang-related. A person convicted of a felony in the adult system faces a 3 year longer sentence when the crime is found to be related to gang activity, without the possibility of a reduced sentence, suspended sentence, or release before completing the sentence. On the other hand, the focus of the juvenile justice system in Arizona is oriented toward rehabilitation and prevention of recidivism, as opposed to punishment of juvenile offenders.
First goal of defense: keeping the case in Juvenile Court
Trying a juvenile as an adult is a poor solution for young gang members and for the rest of society, as being placed in an adult prison does nothing to address the underlying reasons for youth becoming involved in gangs, exposes them to older and more seasoned criminals, and often reinforces the bond with fellow gang members inside the prison environment.
At Jackson White Law, when we represent juveniles under the age of 18 on gang-related charges, we are mindful that the juvenile justice process is potentially a critical intervention point in the lives of troubled youth. The juvenile system is where these cases need to stay, and we work diligently to avoid having them transferred to the punitive adult system.
Our goal is to hold these young people accountable for their behavior while giving them the tools to make better choices and seek out more appropriate friendships, associations, and bonds. We help seek to provide them with guidance to help them set and work toward goals that will integrate them into the community as productive members, through social services, education, training, drug rehabilitation, and job programs.
If your son or daughter has been arrested in Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa, Flagstaff, Scottsdale, Gilbert or anywhere in the state of Arizona and is facing gang-related charges, the potential penalties can be severe and are likely to follow your child throughout his or her life. You will want to provide your child with experienced representation with the primary goal of avoiding transfer to the adult penal system and getting the young defendant the programs and services that can help get his or her life back on track as a productive member of mainstream society. In the event of a transfer, you want a lawyer with the experience to offer a powerful defense.
Jeremy Geigle at Jackson White Law is committed to getting young people facing serious gang-related charges another chance. He has years of experience in negotiating with prosecutors and judges to keep juveniles out of the adult system and getting them the help they need to succeed.
Jeremy will meet with you and your child without charge for the initial consultation to evaluate the case and begin to explore options for the child’s defense. Call him today to schedule an appointment.