Arizona Juvenile Court Process

What happens at Juvenile Court?

arizona juvenile court processJuvenile delinquency cases in Arizona are usually handled in superior court; although, certain misdemeanor offenses and traffic violations can be handled in a justice or municipal court.

Typically the following hearings apply to juvenile delinquency cases in the superior courts.  This is the Arizona juvenile court process.

Advisory Hearing

  • The very first hearing in the Arizona juvenile court process.
  • Juvenile is advised of his rights.
  • Juvenile enters an admission (guilty) or a denial (not guilty).
  • Release conditions are set. The juvenile may be detained or released to his parents.
  • Date of the next hearing is set.

Pre-Adjudication Conference

  • Status conference to update court on status of case.
  • Usually, juvenile enters into some type of plea agreement or case is set for trial.
  • There can be multiple Pre-Adjudication Conferences before the case is set for trial or plea entered.

Detention Review Hearing

  • Hearing to determine if in-custody juvenile should remain in custody.
  • If release to home is not appropriate, alternatives to detention are considered (e.g.. therapeutic group home, detention alternative program, etc.)

Oral Arguments and Evidentiary Hearings

  • Hearing to provide testimony and legal arguments for legal motion.
  • Witnesses may testify
  • Attorneys will present their arguments to the court
  • Court may rule (decide) on legal issues

Adjudication Hearing

  • Juvenile court equivalent of a trial.
  • State has burden of proof.
  • State must prove juvenile committed crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • No jury in juvenile court. Judge is trier of fact.

Disposition Hearing

  • Juvenile court equivalent of sentencing.
  • Judge decides penalty for offense.
  • Oftentimes, this is the last hearing in the Arizona juvenile court process.

Restitution Hearing

  • Hearing to determine if crime victim should receive reimbursement money from the juvenile.
  • Victim only allowed actual out-of-pocket loss.
  • Juvenile’s parents can be ordered to pay up to $10,000.

Review of Placement Hearing

  • Post-disposition hearing for juveniles placed in certain out-of-home programs.
  • Purpose is to monitor juvenile’s progress.
  • Usually set every 60 days until juvenile completes the program.


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