Our Firm Helps With Every Type of Juvenile Crime

The juvenile court system deals with crimes committed by children, those less than eighteen years of age. Arizona deals with children in quite a different way than the way the court system treats adults. Generally, the focus is more on rehabilitation than punishment. In some cases, however, older juveniles who commit more serious crimes will be charged as adults and tried in the adult criminal courts.

 

What to do if your child is arrested?

There can be few more frightening or intimidating telephone calls that a parent can receive than one saying that his or her child has been arrested. What should a parent do? The first, and seemingly hardest, task is to avoid panicking. Your child needs your help now, as much as at any other time in his or her life. Your child needs your support. To help you and your child in this most difficult time, contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law. Robert has the expertise, the knowledge and the experience to help your child through the juvenile court system.  He is ready to fight to protect your child’s rights.

 

The arrest

After a juvenile is arrested, the charging officer decides whether the juvenile should be held in custody and charged or released. This decision is based on the charged crime and information obtained from the victims of the crime, statements or admissions made by the juvenile or the juvenile’s parents, and any past records the juvenile has in the system – in short, on any information available.  After the juvenile is arrested, the State prosecutor must decide how to deal with the juvenile.

 

Informal disposition

Since juvenile court has an emphasis on rehabilitation, the State prosecutor may decide to resolve the matter informally. In such a case, the juvenile will be contacted by the probation department and a meeting will be set. If the juvenile admits responsibility for his or her conduct, the probation officer will require the juvenile to follow a set of specific conditions for a period of time. These conditions are set out in a written agreement. That agreement may include conditions such as paying the victim for property damaged by the juvenile (restitution), school attendance and satisfactory grades in school, drug or other types of counseling, community service, or a curfew. A probation officer often monitors the juvenile’s compliance with the agreement. After all of the requirements are met, the case will be dismissed. If the juvenile fails to meet all of the requirements set, he or she may have to face a formal hearing.

Although the hearing is called “informal,” it is a serious manner, with potentially severe consequences. Formal charges are still a possibility. Legal representation is important at this stage of the proceedings.

 

Formal disposition

If the case is to be handled formally in juvenile court, the State prosecutor will file one of two types of petitions: a delinquency petition, which results in an adjudicatory hearing (trial) in juvenile court, or a petition requesting a hearing on whether the case should be transferred to criminal court. A delinquency petition sets out the allegations against the juvenile, and requests the court to find the youth delinquent.

After the delinquency petition is filed, the Court will hold an Advisory Hearing. The juvenile is advised of the criminal charges against his or her and the possible outcomes. The judge must determine whether the juvenile should be detained until further court hearings. The judge could release the juvenile home, with certain conditions, including a curfew, home detention or an electronic monitoring device. If the judge believes the juvenile is a threat to himself or society, the juvenile could be held in detention until the next court hearing.

The court schedules an adjudication hearing at the time of the advisory hearing. An adjudication hearing is the juvenile court term for a trial. At that hearing, witnesses are called and the facts of the case are presented. There is no right to a jury trial. It is the judge who determines whether the juvenile was responsible for the offense alleged in the petition. A delinquency hearing is not something to be taken lightly. There is a great deal at stake in such a hearing.

If a juvenile is found to have committed a crime, he or she is not “convicted,” but “adjudicated delinquent.” Even such a finding could harm the juvenile when he or she becomes an adult. If a juvenile is adjudged delinquent of a crime, a disposition hearing (sentencing) is conducted. The judge may order the juvenile be placed probation, perform community service, make restitution to the victim for damages, pay a fine, refer to social agencies for counseling and / or treatment, place in a residential treatment center or a group home, or be sentenced to serve time in a juvenile correctional facility.

 

Transfer hearing

There often is a possibility that a juvenile will be tried as an adult, in adult criminal court, rather than in juvenile court. Arizona law allows for an automatic transfer of certain juveniles for particular crimes. In other cases, the State prosecutor has the request a hearing is which to ask the judge to use his or her discretion to transfer the juvenile to adult court. The judge will look at the alleged crime, the juvenile’s social, psychological and legal history, as well as his or her age. The judge will need to decide whether the juvenile court system can rehabilitate the juvenile and determine if there is enough time to do so. The judge can decide to keep the juvenile within the juvenile court system. If a transfer occurs, the juvenile would be treated as an adult in the adult court system, regardless of the age.

 

Parental liability

Arizona has adopted laws to make the parents responsible for the actions of their children. The juvenile court may impose the cost of the juvenile services on the parents, based on the parents’ ability to pay for such costs. The juvenile court can even charge the parents for the cost of detaining their child. In addition to these costs, the juvenile court can order the parent to make restitution payments to the victim, in an amount not to exceed $10,000.00, whether or not the parents have the ability to pay such an amount.

 

How Robert Dodell Attorney Can Help You?

All parents want what is best for their children, and all parents want to make sure that their children stay out of trouble with the law. That is not always possible. Should your child get in trouble with the law, be proactive. Robert has the expertise, the knowledge and the experience to help your child through this difficult time. When your child’s freedom and future are on the line, experience counts. Robert is ready to fight to protect your child’s rights. Contact an experienced juvenile defense attorney immediately. Contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, directly by email or by calling 480.860.4321 now for a free initial consultation.