Speak Up! - View Question #620
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Question: How does the law decide whether a minor is tried as an adult or a minor?
Answer: Arizona Law (ARS § 13-501) lists the types of crimes
that must be tried in adult criminal court, and other types of crimes that may be tried in adult criminal court [meaning, that they may also be tried in juvenile court.]
Arizona Revised Statute § 8-302 explains the process involved with charging a juvenile with a crime in adult court.
Arizona Law (ARS § 13-501[A]) outlines the types of crimes that are automatically tried in adult court. That is, there is no discretion to charge the offender as a juvenile for the following types of crimes, so long as the offender is 15, 16, or 17 years old:
1. First degree murder
2. Second degree murder
3. Forcible sexual assault
4. Armed robbery
Arizona Law also states that any violent felony offense, any felony offense committed by a chronic felony offender, or any offense that is properly joined to an offense listed in this subsection. This gives some discretion to the prosecutor in deciding whether to charge the juvenile as an adult for his crimes, or to allow his charges to remain in juvenile court.
Arizona Law lists the types of crimes that a prosecutor has discretion on filing in either juvenile or adult criminal court. That is, the prosecutor may choose to charge a juvenile in adult or in juvenile court, for the following types of crimes, if the juvenile is at least fourteen years of age:
1. A class 1 felony
2. A class 2 felony
3. A class 3 felony in violation of any offense in chapters 10 through 17 or chapter 19 or 23 of this title
4. A class 3, 4, 5 or 6 felony involving the intentional or knowing infliction of serious physical injury or the discharge, use or threatening exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument
Arizona law also states that any felony offense committed by a chronic felony offender, and any offense that is properly joined to an offense listed in this subsection, may be filed in either juvenile or adult court. This is again a choice to be made by the prosecutor.
See Other #65 for more information about the punishments for different types of felonies and misdemeanors.