Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney In Tucson
The goal of every parent is to help his or her child live a happy, fulfilling life. We try to help them be better students, better brothers or sisters, and better people. When young people are charged with juvenile offenses, the goal is the same: the juvenile justice system was set up to help your child get back on track.
When a minor is charged with a crime, this doesn’t always mean that their parents have failed. Sometimes, great kids with bright futures from loving and attentive families impulsively make careless slip-ups, get carried away with their friends, or feel pressured to make bad decisions. A single misstep in adolescence shouldn’t have a significant impact on a young person, who is still learning to be an adult, meet expectations, and participate in society.
I believe that when a child makes a mistake, our goal as a society should be to help them improve themselves. My objective as a criminal defense attorney is to help keep kids out of the Juvenile Department of Corrections (JDOC). A mistake shouldn’t result in JDOC — it should be an opportunity to recognize that there is a problem and do something constructive about it. Your juvenile could one day even grow up to be a defense attorney and work with people like us, and an error in judgement in their youth shouldn’t prevent them from living their lives to the fullest potential.
Protecting Your Young Person’s Future And Safety
As a criminal defense attorney in Tucson with extensive experience in the juvenile justice system, I work with my investigators to examine the details of the juvenile crimes alleged in your young person’s case. The case is scrutinized for flaws that can lead to dismissal or a reduction in charges.
Technically, a juvenile can be charged for committing any act deemed illegal, whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony crime. Juveniles can face assault, rape, or murder charges just like any adult. These charges are far more serious, and may result in the juvenile being tried as an adult. There are some frequent youth crimes where juveniles will almost certainly be tried in an age appropriate way.
Certain charges are more common among juveniles. These charges include:
- Drug offenses (including marijuana possession)
- Underage DUI / Underage drinking and driving / Minor in possession of alcohol (mandatory 2-year driver’s license suspension)
- Vandalism, graffiti, criminal damage
- Gang association offenses
While a lot of people might see some of these nonviolent crimes as teen mischief and feel that forcing their children to apologize and remedy the situation is enough, the legal system doesn’t always feel that way. If the person affected by the crime wants the government to file criminal charges, they’re within their rights to do so.
Arizona has some unique circumstances that can make punishments harsher than they would be in other areas of the country. Possessing marijuana for anything other than approved medical use is a Class 6 felony, the lowest felony level. However, this doesn’t mean any felony should be taken lightly – it just means that a class 6 felony is more serious than a misdemeanor.
There is a zero tolerance policy for underage DUI that comes with mandatory penalties upon conviction. This means that if a juvenile (or any person under the legal drinking age) tests positive by breath or blood for any amount of alcohol at all, whether or not it’s below the legal limit for adult drinkers, they can be charged with driving under the influence.
Helping Juveniles Understand Their Own Futures
If the young person isn’t adequately represented by an experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney, the charges can follow them for much longer than they may believe. If they intend to apply for a part time job, an internship, or even for college, these charges might disrupt their ability to begin their adult lives. It can create a roadblock right in front of their future.
When a juvenile faces criminal charges, there isn’t much to feel optimistic about. It’s a stressful time, and the juvenile is likely just as panicked as the parents. Finding a silver lining is important, and that silver lining is the learning experience. By involving the juvenile in their own defense and treating them like an adult, they’re being given the opportunity to fully understand the impact of their actions.
I talk to kids about their situation in a straightforward manner, keeping them and their families informed of exactly where they stand as their case moves through the juvenile justice system. The kids will understand exactly how the process works, what’s happening to them, and why. They’ll also understand exactly why they should modify their problematic behavior by the time the experience is over – facing charges can be a wakeup call for many kids and teens who aren’t too worried about following the rules.
Compassion is also an important part of the process. It’s natural for juveniles and families to feel scared, and they need to have as much information about what’s going on as humanly possible. They need to understand the defense strategy and know when they can expect the process to come to an end. They’ll also need to be aware of any ramifications they may face as a result of the legal process, as well as what they can do about it. That’s why we’re quick to share updates the moment we get them.
What Are The Penalties For Juvenile Crimes?
In Arizona, penalties for most juvenile crimes are intended to rehabilitate a youth, rather than punish them. If penalties through the juvenile system can be avoided altogether, that’s even better. If they can’t, the ideal option is to come to an agreement that would benefit the juvenile whose safety and well being should come first.
When cases are handled in juvenile court, the records become different. Upon becoming an adult, the juvenile will be able to work with the court to get their records sealed. This doesn’t technically undo the past, but it can keep the incident from haunting the juvenile’s record in their adult life.
In some cases involving major felonies, juveniles are tried as adults. While this is rare, reserved for only the most serious situations, it still happens. This isn’t just the worst case scenario because nobody wants to see a young person in adult criminal court – it’s because that court wasn’t even made for them.
The adult criminal court system was not designed to handle youths. That’s why juvenile court exists. When juvenile court can’t be used, the defense strategy needs to be modified significantly. In these cases, parents and family members are well-advised to consult an aggressive criminal defense attorney experienced in both negotiations with prosecutors and going to trial.
Can Juvenile Charges Be Dropped?
In cases where evidence is insufficient or there are special circumstances, some juvenile charges may be able to be dropped. A crime victim might be able to independently request that the charges be dropped, but the government always has the final say.
Fortunately, juvenile charges don’t have to be the end of the world. Even if things don’t work out in the juvenile’s favor, he or she can make a request to have their juvenile criminal record sealed. It’s rather easy to do if the juvenile in question makes it into adulthood without running into any additional trouble. If the juvenile is tried as an adult for a more serious crime, this option will not be available. It goes through the regular court system, and will become a part of the juvenile’s regular criminal record if they are found guilty of the crime.
Get A Free Juvenile Criminal Defense Consultation
If your young person is in trouble, get touch with us. You can call us today or use the contact form above. We’re able to immediately respond to phone calls, no matter what time or day or what day of the week we receive them. We understand the situation is urgent and that parents or guardians want to find an experienced juvenile defense lawyer right away.
We can schedule a free consultation to discuss the juvenile case and what options may be available to you before we proceed. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can develop a plan to keep your young person safe.