Speak Up! - View Question #305
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Question: What will happen if a 15yr old is charged with a felony?
Answer: A couple of things can happen, depending on the type of felony the juvenile is charged with and what type of criminal record he or she has.
If the felony the juvenile (age 15 and over) is charged with is one of the following, then Arizona law requires that they be charged as an adult in adult court;
-Rape or Sexual Assault
-Aggravated Assault - either serious physical injury or with a deadly weapon
-Discharging a Firearm at a Structure or if the juvenile already has 2 prior felony convictions in juvenile court (chronic felony offender)
These are called mandatory direct file cases.
If the juvenile is 14 years or older, and committs any of the following felonies, then the county attorney MAY file adult charges in adult court. That is a decision made on a case-by-case basis;
-a class 1 or 2 felony (included murder and some drug sales offenses)
-a class 3 felony (except possession of drugs or theft)
-a class 3,4,5, or 6 felony with intentional or knowing serious physical injury or use of deadly weapon or dangerous instrument (these would be aggravated assaults and similar offenses)
-or a juvenile that has been convicted already of 2 felonies in juvenile court (chronic felony offender)
Other felonies would be charged in juvenile court. Those would include, burglary, car theft, possession of marijuana, narcotics or dangerous drugs, some aggravated assaults where there is no serious injury or weapon used, fleeing from law enforcement or escape, resisting arrest, and theft.
The juvenile court has a broad range of sentences, and does not have any mandatory sentencing provisions like adult court. The juvenile judge consideres the crime and the juvenile's circumstances, then can impose everything from community service to juvenile prison, including probation, fines, and placement in a residential treatment or foster home.