The Juvenile Division is responsible for the prosecution of delinquent and incorrigible children between ages eight and eighteen. “Delinquent” acts are misdemeanor or felony offenses while “incorrigible” acts are status offenses such as truancy or curfew violations.
Unlike most adult criminal cases, which are heard by a jury, juvenile cases are adjudicated by a judge with the ultimate goal of rehabilitating a youthful offender in a manner that also ensures public safety. There is no mandatory sentencing for juvenile crimes. Many first time offenders may be eligible for pre-filing diversion programs, which may include consequences such as community service, letters of apology, or behavioral and cognitive classes.
Between 80-90% of juveniles sent to diversion successfully complete these programs and do not return to the system as juveniles.
Serious or repeat offenses can result in sentencing to the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections until the juvenile turns 18. Prosecutors also have the discretion to file certain serious and violent offenses directly into adult court on juveniles over the age of fourteen.
Upon turning 18 years of age (25 for certain offenses) a person may be eligible to have his/her juvenile record destroyed pursuant to A.R.S. §8-349.
An application must be filed with the juvenile court. The court will get the opinion of the county attorney and may then decide, if the person meets the statutory requirements for eligibility, to destroy the juvenile record.
Families who are looking for assistance in dealing with various issues related to juveniles (i.e., drug abuse, mental illness, incorrigibility), may contact the FINS Unit of the Juvenile Court at (602) 506-5913 for further assistance.
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