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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

-Armed Robbery

-Aggravated Assault - either serious physical injury or with a deadly weapon

-Drive-by Shooting

-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.

6 thru 10 of 37 comments
On 11/25/06
Henry from AS said:
I agree with you fully
On 06/01/06
Ms. J from MI said:
I have a 15 year old son who has just got into trouble for firing a beebee gun at a structure. The police officer questioned him without a parent or guardian present. My son has never been into trouble before and was very scared while being questioned. He admitted to knowing that this structure was a window of a elderly patient of an assisted living home. I know that he did not know that. It was dark and there were not any lights on. He was staying at a friends house that he used to go to school with. This friend was the owner of the gun. They are now being charged with felony discharge.
On 05/20/06
William from NY said:
I believe children shouldnt be convicted as adults. Many people say Adult crime adult time. But they dont keep in mind that kids who murder do not know right from wrong. So by putting these kids in a adult prison around aggresive people will make them aggressive and possibly will get them killed. So i believe by putting them in a juvenile center they will get all the attention they need from psychiatrists not Rapeists or Murders. Dont you dare say the kids deserve it. HOw would you feel if you were 14 years of age and put in a setting of an adult prison...Exactly
On 01/24/06
zEkA from CA said:
well in my opinion. "we have to be very carefull who we charged as an adult" because in every mind is a wolrd, even in our mind. we think things that probraly no body knows. but i think that minors know what they are doing.
On 03/30/05
Szujin from Othr said:
In my opinion a person who can commit such crime as murder, shooting, or any of the others listed above shall be tried in an adult court. These days 15-year-old people are muture enough to be able to decide between good and bad. They should take responsibility.
6 thru 10 of 37 comments

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