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MESA PHOENIX JUVENILE PROPERTY CRIMES DEFENSE ATTORNEY

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Juvenile (child or teen) property crimes include theft of property or services, shoplifting, credit card fraud, criminal damage, burglary, and arson.

 

A.R.S. § 8-321 states that the County Attorney may divert the prosecution of a juvenile who is accused of committing a delinquent act (a property crime if committed by an adult) if this would be the first or second time that the juvenile has participated in a community based alternative program or a diversion program administered by the juvenile court within twenty-four months before the date of the commission of the alleged property crime.  The County Attorney has sole discretion to decide whether to divert or defer prosecution of a juvenile.

“Juvenile property crimes run the gamut from childish fun and games to deliberate destruction of property—I can defend them all.”     Lisa Witt

  • If the County Attorney diverts the prosecution of a juvenile to the juvenile court, the juvenile probation officer must personally interview the juvenile in the presence of his or her parent or guardian.  The juvenile must then acknowledge responsibility for the property crime and comply with one or more of the following conditions established by the juvenile probation officer:  unpaid community restitution work; court-approved counseling program to strengthen family relationships and prevent more juvenile felonies; court-approved education program to prevent further juvenile felony behavior; court-approved education program designed to deal with juvenile alcohol or drug abuse; court-approved nonresidential program of rehabilitation or supervision either offered by the court or a community youth servicing agency; payment of restitution to the victim; and/ or payment of a fine.  If the juvenile successfully complies with the conditions, the County Attorney will not file a petition in juvenile court and the program's resolution will not be used against the juvenile in any further proceeding and is not an adjudication of delinquency. The resolution of the program is not a conviction of a crime, does not impose any civil disabilities ordinarily resulting from a conviction, and does not disqualify the juvenile in any civil service application or appointment.

 

  • If the County Attorney diverts the prosecution of a juvenile to a community based alternative program, the juvenile must admit responsibility for the property crime and must cooperate fully with the program.  After holding a meeting with the juvenile and his/her parent(s) or guardian(s), the participants may agree on any legally reasonable consequences that are necessary to fully and fairly resolve the matter except confinement.  The juvenile then must complete the consequences within ninety days after the juvenile is referred to the community based alternative program.  If the juvenile successfully completes the consequences, the County Attorney shall not file a petition in juvenile court and the program's resolution shall not be used against the juvenile in any further proceeding and is not an adjudication of delinquency. The resolution of the program is not a conviction of a crime, does not impose any civil disabilities ordinarily resulting from a conviction and does not disqualify the juvenile in any civil service application or appointment.

  • If the juvenile does not acknowledge responsibility for the offense, or fails to comply with the consequences set by the community based alternative program, the case must be submitted to the County Attorney for review.  The County Attorney may return the case to the juvenile probation department for further action if the County Attorney declines prosecution after reviewing a referral.

“The State doesn’t always want an outcome that benefits your child—I do.”  Lisa Witt

A.R.S. § 8-341 describes the powers of a juvenile court judge if the property crime charge is not diverted or diversion fails.  A juvenile court judge may hold a hearing which is similar to a trial without a jury to determine if the juvenile should be found to be delinquent (guilty) of the property crime charge.  The juvenile court judge may enter judgment as follows:

 

  • If a juvenile is delinquent (guilty) of criminal damage caused by tagging or graffiti under A.R.S. § 13-1602 (A)(5), the juvenile court judge must order juvenile to pay a fine of at least three hundred dollars but not more than one thousand dollars.  The juvenile court judge may order the juvenile to perform community restitution in lieu of the payment for all or part of the fine if it is in the best interests of the juvenile. The amount of community restitution shall be equivalent to the amount of the fine by crediting any service performed at a rate of ten dollars per hour. If the juvenile is convicted of a second or subsequent violation of § 13-1602 (A)(5) and is ordered to perform community restitution, the juvenile court judge may order the parent or guardian of the juvenile to assist the juvenile in the performance of the community restitution if the parent or guardian knew that the juvenile intended to commit criminal damage caused by tagging or graffiti and the parent or guardian knowingly provided the juvenile with the means to commit criminal damage caused by tagging or graffiti.

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  • Subject to the supervision of a probation department, award a delinquent juvenile to the care of his/her parents; to a probation department (including a period of incarceration in a juvenile detention center of not more than one year); to a reputable citizen of good moral character; to a private agency or institution; to the department of juvenile corrections;  to maternal or paternal relatives; or to an appropriate official of a foreign country of which the juvenile is a foreign national who is unaccompanied by a parent or guardian in this state to remain on unsupervised probation for at least one year on the condition that the juvenile cooperate with that official.

 

  • Place the juvenile on probation until his/her eighteenth birthday except that probation must not exceed one year if all of the following apply:  the juvenile is not charged with a subsequent offense; the juvenile has not been found in violation of a condition of probation and the court has not made a determination that it is in the best interests of the juvenile or the public to require continued supervision; the offense for which the juvenile is placed on probation does not involve a dangerous offense as defined in A.R.S. § 13-105; the offense for which the juvenile is placed on probation does not involve a violation of title 13, chapter 14 or 35.1; restitution ordered pursuant to A.R.S. § 8-344 has been made; and the juvenile's parents have not requested that the court continue the juvenile's probation for more than one year.

DEFENSES FOR JUVENILE PROPERTY CRIMES CHARGES IN ARIZONA

Lisa is a passionate, thorough defense attorney who will thoroughly evaluate your child’s case and determine if one or more of the following potential defense strategies apply:

 

  • Act described is not a property crime:  The act described may not fit the statutory definition of a property crime.

 

  • Dismissal agreement is appropriate:  Your child’s property crime may be dismissed if your child completes community service, writes an essay, and/or takes a diversion class. 

 

  • Case eligible for juvenile diversion:  The State wrongly decided that your child’s case is not eligible for juvenile diversion.

 

  • Eyewitnesses:  There may be eyewitnesses who can testify about the crime.

 

  • Mistaken identity:  Someone else committed the property crime and your child was mistakenly identified as the suspect.

 

  • Case eligible for juvenile court:  The State wrongly decided that your child’s case is not eligible for juvenile court.

 

  • Alibi:  Your child may have been at school or working with other people or elsewhere when the property crime took place.

 

  • Implausibility of State’s case:  The State’s case may be implausible based on the timeframe or other facts alleged.

 

  • Missing or tainted evidence:  Sometimes the State’s evidence cannot be produced or is corrupted. 

 

  • Insufficiency of State’s evidence:  The State may have insufficient evidence to prove a property crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

  • Reduction in number of counts: Each count alleged against your child should concern a separate criminal act and not be part of the same property crime. 

 

  • Police misconduct:  There may be police misconduct in collecting the evidence, investigating the drug crime, interviewing the victim and witnesses, or obtaining your child’s confession.

 

  • Suppression of State’s evidence:  The State may have violated your child’s constitutional rights or otherwise acted illegally in acquiring evidence or their confession.

 

  • Prosecutorial misconduct:  The prosecutor may have acted with misconduct in disclosing the evidence, interviewing victims and witnesses, or in the general disposition of your child’s case.

 

  • Possible other defenses to a property crime:  Depending on the unique facts of your child’s case, there may be other possible defenses.  Lisa thinks outside the box by diligently searching for defenses so she may come up with a novel defense that no other attorney has thought of before.

 

If your child has been charged with a property crime, you need a passionate, detail-oriented defense attorney.  Please call LisaLaw, LLC or fill out the online form for a free case review.

Lisa Witt is a Mesa/Phoenix, Arizona juvenile property crimes defense attorney serving clients facing charges in the East Valley, West Valley, Maricopa County, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, Queen Creek, Gilbert, Casa Grande, Surprise, Goodyear, Buckeye, Youngtown, Ahwatukee, Avondale, Tolleson.

 
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