Phoenix, AZ Juvenile Defense Lawyers

Our leading Phoenix, Arizona criminal and juvenile court defense attorneys have helped many juveniles accused of violating the law.

The Arizona juvenile justice system functions differently from the adult justice system. Juvenile courts tend to gear penalties towards rehabilitation rather than punishment, cases are decided by judges rather than juries, and records of offenses are generally sealed. The Phoenix juvenile criminal defense lawyers at The Gillespie Law Firm regularly appear in Arizona Juvenile Courts.

When a juvenile is accused of a crime in Arizona, the criminal process is very different. The juvenile crime is called an act of “delinquency” and requires juvenile court intervention to correct the delinquency. Juvenile courts have their own special rules, procedures, and terminology.

The following list of commonly used terms in juvenile court shows the correlation to the terminology in the adult system:

Juvenile System Adult System
Delinquent Act Crime
Pre-Adjudication Hearing Pretrial Conference
Adjudication Hearing Trial
Found Delinquent Convicted/Found Guilty
Disposition Sentencing
Detention Incarceration

Though the term “juvenile” usually applies to children under the age of 18, there are certain crimes that allow the prosecutor to charge a juvenile as an adult automatically. Juveniles aged 14-18 are potentially subject to answer charges in adult courts for certain violent felony offenses and/or sexual crimes with minors. Generally, in Arizona, juveniles under 14 will face juvenile proceedings and not be subject to adult court jurisdiction. Because penalties handed down by Arizona adult courts are usually far more harsh than the analogous juvenile penalties, it is important for the Phoenix, AZ juvenile criminal defense lawyer to work aggressively to keep juvenile defendants within the Arizona juvenile system. Children who are put into the system designed for adults often end up remaining within the system for much of their lives.

As of May 1, 2007, a new law passed in Arizona giving juveniles more challenges to the automatic transfer of their cases to adult court.

It is essential, in light of the changes in the law in 2007, to have an experienced juvenile defense lawyer in Phoenix, AZ who understands what is necessary to present in cases where the prosecutor seeks to have a juvenile answer to charges in adult court. The Gillespie Law Firm team of criminal defense lawyers can handle all of the aspects of the case. While in many ways the juvenile justice system is different than that of adults, children still have the right to a quality defense. If you choose to retain our Phoenix, AZ juvenile criminal defense lawyers, we will provide the highest level of juvenile defense representation available.