My child has been arrested, what can I expect?

There are two types of arrest/referral – paper and physical.

If your child is physically arrested and brought to the detention facility and held there, this is called a physical referral. The parents/guardians will be notified upon his or her arrival to the Pima County Juvenile Court Center. An assessment will be made by a probation officer with respect to release. If the court determines that the minor may be released, parents/guardians will be required to pick them up.

If the court determines that the minor will be detained, a Detention Hearing will be held within 24 hours before a Juvenile Court Judge. The parents/guardians are required to attend this hearing and the judge will determine whether you should remain detained or released until your next court date. The judge may appoint an attorney to represent you at this hearing. If that happens make sure you contact that attorney right away to discuss your case. Additionally at this time, a probation officer will be assigned to your case and you will receive more information from this officer.

If your child was released to an adult with arrest paperwork, is called a paper referral, i.e., cited and released by the police, you will be contacted by a probation officer within 15 days to set up an interview. During this interview, you will receive all pertinent information regarding the charges and your child’s rights.

These additional events will occur as part of the process as your case moves through the court system:

Trial Review - A hearing where you tell the judge whether you are guilty or not guilty of the crime for which you are charged. If you say you are not guilty, then an Adjudication Hearing (a trial) is scheduled. If you say you are guilty then a Disposition Hearing is set.

Adjudication Hearing - A trial before a judge to determine whether you are guilty of the charges filed against you. The County Attorney must prove its case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. When a judge has found you guilty or you have told the judge you are guilty of the charges filed against you then you're consider to be Adjudicated or Adjudicated Delinquent.

Disposition Hearing - A hearing after you have been Adjudicated Delinquent (found guilty) where the judge decides your consequence. The probation officer, county attorney, and your attorney each have an opportunity to suggest to the judge what the Court should do. Options include: probation, juvenile intensive probation (JIPS), residential treatment, or the Department of Corrections (Prison).

Juvenile Rights

If you have been charged with a delinquent offense, you have the right to:

  • Know the charges against you.
  • Remain silent. No one can make you talk about your case.
  • Have a lawyer represent you.
  • Deny the charges and have a trial (adjudication hearing) before a judge. You do not have the right to a jury trial.
  • Face and cross-examine the witnesses against you.
  • Present evidence in your own defense.
  • Testify if you wish; however, you do not have to testify.
  • Appeal the judge's decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will I know when to appear?
If you are released after arrest, you will receive a letter in the mail either notifying you about your first hearing or telling you to call your probation officer. If you are detained, a probation officer will call your parent or guardian and let them know when the detention hearing will be held. All other hearings will be set in court, so listen carefully and write down the date and time. If you aren't sure, call your probation officer or your lawyer.

What if I miss a hearing?
Both you and your parent or guardian must attend all hearings. If you do not attend, the judge may order that you be arrested and that your parent or guardian appear in court and explain your absence.

Who will be at the hearings?
The judge, you, your parent or guardian, the prosecutor (county attorney), your lawyer, witnesses and victims. The hearings are open, so any member of the public may attend.

What if my parents can't afford to hire a lawyer?
You have the right to have a lawyer. If your parent or guardian cannot afford to hire one, the judge will appoint a lawyer for you. Your parents may be required to pay some of the cost.

What if I have more questions?
Call your lawyer or your probation officer.

Contact Information

Pima County Juvenile Court Center

Juvenile Probation

Pima County Attorney

Pima County Public Defender

Assessment Office