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Criminal Law Blog

Why Juvenile Defendants Need Serious Defense

April 25, 2016

Although children under 18 are typically tried as juveniles, there are many exceptions to this rule. In the state of Arizona, there are several instances in which individuals less than 18 years of age may be tried in the same manner as an adult. Any criminal conviction can have several negative and long-term impacts on your child’s life, making a serious and aggressive defense a necessary response to any criminal charge your child may face.

Trying Juveniles as Adults

The Arizona legal system allows juveniles younger than 18 to be tried as adults in several different situations. Children between the ages of 14 and 18 may be prosecuted as adults if they have been accused of crimes that include first- or second-degree murder, forcible sexual assault, armed robbery, or any other violent felony. Any child older than 14 may be tried as an adult if they are accused of a class 1 or class 2 felony, as well as class 3, class 4, or class 5 felonies that meet certain legal criteria. Furthermore, chronic juvenile offenders may also be tried as adults in the court system.

The Consequences of Adult Convictions

Minors that are tried as adults are more likely to be convicted and receive longer sentences than those tried in juvenile court. Furthermore, some studies indicate that these harsher punishments do not deter repeat offenders, and actually make it more likely that juveniles will reoffend. When minors are tried as adults, a conviction can have long-standing consequences that follow them throughout life. Incarceration can interfere with the pursuit of education, while criminal records can affect an individual’s chances of finding or keeping gainful and fulfilling employment.

If your child has been accused of a crime, it’s essential to work with a criminal defense lawyer who understands the best strategy for his defense. Janet Altschuler, Attorney at Law has experience representing both juveniles and adults; she will fight to ensure your child’s rights and future are protected. You can reach our Tucson law office by calling (520) 247-1789, or contact us online for more information.

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