Can a Minor Be Charged with a Felony in Arizona?

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Can a Minor Be Charged with a Felony in Arizona?

Minors who commit crimes are not exempt from the law. Children between the ages of 8 and 18 will be tried for their crimes in juvenile court. However, the consequences for juvenile convictions are different from those for adults in that they focus strongly on rehabilitation. 

Juvenile felony convictions typically result in strict, intensive probation, hefty fines and fees, and mandatory community service. In some cases, minors may spend time in a juvenile correction facility. However, minors can be tried as adults in certain cases.

When Can a Minor Be Tried as an Adult?

If the minor is over the age of 15, they may be charged as an adult. In fact, there are several crimes where the default charge for juveniles is the same as for adults. 

A minor can be tried as an adult for:

  • Murder in the first or second degree
  • Forcible sexual assault
  • Armed robbery
  • Aggravated felony offenses (aggravated assault, or crimes involving firearms)
  • Drive-by shootings
  • Any felony when the minor has two prior felony convictions

If the district attorney wishes to try any other juvenile court cases in an adult court, they must file for a transfer. The transfer must be granted and signed by a judge before the trial can continue in an adult criminal court. 

Can You Erase a Minor’s Felony Record in Arizona?

Having a criminal record in Arizona—even a juvenile one—can make it hard to find jobs or housing as an adult, or interfere with their opportunities for higher education. Naturally, many people wonder if they can have their own record or their child’s record erased when they get older. 

Unfortunately, there is no way to completely “erase” a past conviction. However, Arizona offers some people the opportunity to set aside or expunge their criminal record. Setting aside a conviction means when the charge shows up on background checks it appears as “set aside.” Setting aside a felony conviction also restores that person’s civil rights, such as the right to vote. Expungement is only available for specific juvenile cases, but it will remove the conviction from any public records. 

If Your Child Is Facing a Felony in Arizona, You Need an Attorney

Facing a felony as an adult is overwhelming, facing one as a child can be even more so. To successfully fight a felony charge, you need the skill of an experienced criminal attorney. Todd Coolidge has been defending criminal cases in the Arizona justice system for over 25 years. To ensure the best outcome for your case, or for help with getting a record set aside, it helps to have a lawyer who cares. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.




Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (6/7/24). Photo by Kyle Broad on Unsplash.