Juvenile Court in Arizona

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Juvenile Court in Arizona

In Arizona, cases charging youths under the age of 18 years old with crimes are handled differently than they would be for an adult offender. The juvenile criminal court system provides a means to reform these youths, referred to as delinquents, rather than immediately punish, so as to prevent them from committing future acts of criminal activity.

Where an adult offender might be arrested and taken to jail directly from the scene of a crime, a youth is typically released to their parents or guardians to await their court appearance. Moreover, their cases are typically heard and decided upon by a judge rather than a jury. Juvenile case records are often sealed from the public.

Sentences for juvenile delinquents tend to be milder than in adult cases, with a hope of rehabilitating the offenders and allowing them a chance to learn from their mistakes. Possible penalties for delinquencies instead of jail can include counseling or treatment programs, community service, e-monitoring, and at-home detention.

Some municipalities and counties within Arizona offer “Teen Court” as a diversion program to certain juveniles charged with delinquencies in which they are tried in front of juries of other youths. A presiding judge oversees the process. Examples include the following:


However, juveniles can be charged and tried as adults in standard adult courts in certain situations, subjecting them to the same, much more severe penalties, that an adult would face. While this does exclude the death penalty, these juveniles could still face a life sentence in jail. Per A.R.S. 13-501, a juvenile can be charged as an adult if they were 14, 15, 16, or 17 years old at the time of allegedly committing certain serious felony offenses, often sexual or violent, including:

  • First degree murder
  • Second degree murder
  • Forcible sexual assault
  • Armed robbery


As in adult cases, juveniles should not speak to law enforcement without first consulting a defense attorney. Even juvenile delinquency convictions can impact the future livelihood of a minor, particularly if being tried as an adult. As such, it is important to call Rideout Law Group if your child has been charged with a crime of any sort.



With offices in Lake Havasu City and Scottsdale, our firm serves the entire state of Arizona, with a particular focus on criminal defense, family law, and juvenile cases.

Our goal is for the best outcome for your criminal case, which can include:

  • charges that are reduced or dropped.
  • top experts reviewing your case.
  • aggressive negotiations with the prosecution for plea bargains.
  • fines or probation in lieu of jail time.

At Rideout Law Group, our attorneys are able to expertly examine the evidence in your case to provide a strong strategy for argument that leads to an outcome that is most favorable to you. We have experience in all types of criminal cases for both adults and juveniles, with positive outcomes both in plea negotiations as well as jury trial settings.

Call us today for a free consultation at 480-584-3328.

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