Speak Up! - View Question #551
printer friendly version
Question: I was arrested for having weed, ecstasy, and adderal; can the court wait to charge me until I'm 16 and charge me as an adult?
Answer: There are two important parts to this question:
1) Can the Court wait to charge me . . . and
2) Can the Court charge me as an adult
The answer will be broken down accordingly. Before we do that, however, we must consider what you were arrested for. This will be important in analyzing both parts of your question.
You were charged with having weed, ecstasy, and adderall. The severity of these charges depends on the amount of each substance found on you.
The Arizona Law for Possession, use, production, sale or transportation of marijuana (ARS 13-3405) breaks the responsibility for marijuana charges into varying degrees. For example, a person who knowingly possesses, uses, produces, or sells marijuana is subject to a felony. If you have less than 2 pounds of marijuana and you are not selling it, that is a class 6 felony. If you might sell it, it's a class 3 felony. If you have 4 pounds and it's not for sale, that is a class 5 felony. If you could sell it, it's a class 4 felony. If you have more than 4 pounds not for sale, that is a class 4 felony. If you might sell it, then that is a class 2 felony. If you have less than 2 pounds that you could sell, that is a class 5 felony. So you see, the degree of this arrest depends entirely on the amount of pot in your possession, and the circumstances under which it was obtained.
Adderall, a prescription drug, includes amphetamines. It is unclear which Arizona Law (statute) the police officer would have cited you with for this charge, but it could have been a violation of the law against possessing a prescription drug without a prescription, or it could have been under the law against possessing a dangerous drug [because Adderall includes amphetamines, and that could make it a 'dangerous drug' under ARS 13-3401(6)(b)(i).
If you were charged with possession, use, administration, acquisition, sale, manufacture or transportation of prescription-only drugs (ARS 13-3406) the officer would have considered your possession of Adderall a prescription drug. This statute breaks the responsibility for these charges into varying degrees. For example, this statute states that a person who knowingly possesses prescription drugs without a prescription is subject to a class 1 misdemeanor. If you are actually administering the prescription drug to another person, or are transporting it to another state for unauthorized sales, you are subject to a class 6 felony.
If the officer charged you with a violation of possession, use, administration, acquisition, sale, manufacture or transportation of narcotic drugs (ARS 13-3408) then he considered the adderall a dangerous drug. This is also the law that the officer could have charged you with for your possession of ecstasy. This statute also breaks the responsibility of violating this law into varying degrees. For example, a person who knowingly possesses, uses, manufactures, administers, sells, or transports drugs is subject to a felony. Depending on what you could possibly do with the drugs in your possession, you could be charged with anywhere from a class 2 to a class 4 felony. If you are just possessing the drug for personal use, that's a class 4 felony. If you are administering it to someone else, or transporting it for possible sale, that could hit you harder with a class 2 or 3 felony.
So, it appears that you could have been charged with as serious a crime as a class 2 felony all the way to a class 1 misdemeanor. Each separate citation carries with it its own charge, so you were likely charged with multiple felony violations.
Can the Court wait to charge me?
You should know that there are time limitations involved with the start of prosecution ['charging you']. ARS 13-107. Defines the time limits involved with commencing prosecution ['charging you'] based upon the severity of each crime. For example, any homicide, chapter 14 class 2 felony, violent sexual assault, misuse of public monies, can be charged at any time. This does not apply to the crimes you committed. A class 2 through a class 6 felony must begin its prosecution within 7 years. A class one misdemeanor must begin prosecution within a year. ARS 8-301 specifically states when a case can begin against a juvenile:
1. By transfer of a case from another court
2. By the filing of a petition by the county attorney or
3. For an offense other than a felony, by the referral of a uniform Arizona traffic ticket and complaint form.
Since all of your charges will likely be felonies, this means that the County Attorney has up to 7 years to file any charges against you. No matter when they file it, though, you will have been a juvenile while committing the crime. The question then becomes another one, which is, can the case be tried against you as an adult?
Can the Court Charge You As An Adult?
If the County Attorney charges you with these crimes within seven years, you will begin in Juvenile Court because you committed the crimes as a juvenile. If the County Attorney wants you to be tried as an adult, it can file a motion under ARS 8-302 for the court to decide whether you are a juvenile who can be tried as an adult. If the County Attorney files this motion, they will be subject to 13-501(B), which states that they would have to show that the juvenile in question [you] is at least fourteen years of age and is accused of any of the following offenses:
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.
5. Any felony offense committed by a chronic felony offender.
6. Any offense that is properly joined to an offense listed in this subsection.
Under section (C) of this same statute, a criminal prosecution shall be brought against a juvenile in the same manner as an adult if the juvenile has been accused of a criminal offense and has a historical prior felony conviction.
If the County Attorney does attempt to try you as an adult, then there would be a transfer hearing under ARS 8-327. The court would then have to take into consideration:
1. The seriousness of the offense involved.
2. The record and previous history of the juvenile, including previous contacts with the courts and law enforcement, previous periods of any court ordered probation and the results of that probation.
3. Any previous commitments of the juvenile to juvenile residential placements and secure institutions.
4. If the juvenile was previously committed to the department of juvenile corrections for a felony offense.
5. If the juvenile committed another felony offense while the juvenile was a ward of the department of juvenile corrections.
6. If the juvenile committed the alleged offense while participating in, assisting, promoting or furthering the interests of a criminal street gang, a criminal syndicate or a racketeering enterprise.
7. The views of the victim of the offense.
8. If the degree of the juvenile's participation in the offense was relatively minor but not so minor as to constitute a defense to prosecution.
9. The juvenile's mental and emotional condition.
10. The likelihood of the juvenile's reasonable rehabilitation through the use of services and facilities that are currently available to the juvenile court.
At the conclusion of the transfer hearing, the court shall make a written determination whether the juvenile should be transferred to the criminal division of the superior court for criminal prosecution. If the court determines that the juvenile should not be transferred to the criminal division of the superior court, the court shall set an adjudication hearing.