Courts define the words in statutes when a person brings a case. Also, the legislature can change the words in statutes. You will see, "last updated date" on the top of a law, if the law hasn't been updated for a while on this site, check the Arizona Revised Statutes, to find out what the current law says.
Being a teen isn’t easy. You sometimes find yourself looking for ways to fit in or to impress your friends. You may even find yourself breaking the law just to be part of action. Before you do something you may regret, there is something you need to know.
Lawmakers and voters feel that too many crimes are being committed by juveniles, victimizing too many innocent people. Because of this, the law in Arizona has changed to severely punish violent youthful offenders.
Kids might think juvenile court is a joke. A slap on the wrist and you’re out the door. Wrong! The punishment for juveniles in Arizona just got a lot tougher.
- Did you know that if you are 15, 16 or 17 years old, you are required to be tried as an ADULT if: you commit a specified violent crime (including murder, armed robbery, forcible sexual assault, or aggravated assault), or you are arrested for your third felony (which is any felony after being adjudicated on two prior felonies)?
- Did you know that some juvenile records are not confidential?
- Did you know that your parents must come to court with you?
- Did you know that your first driving under the influence conviction means 24 hours in detention and losing your driver’s license?
- Did you know that a conviction for graffiti results in a driver’s license suspension?
- Did you know that the destruction of juvenile records is not automatic?
Recent History of Juvenile Justice Reform
The Juvenile Justice Reform Act (or Senate Bill 1446)- was passed by the Arizona State Legislature to implement Proposition 102, which was passed by the voters in November of 1996. This law became effective on July 21, 1997.
What is Curfew?
Curfew is how late you can legally stay outside in a public place. The State of Arizona allows each city to set curfews, and they can be different from place to place. If you violate curfew you may be ticked, have to pay a fine or do community service or held at the police station while a parent or guardian is called. Your parent or guardian is also susceptible to being cited for your violation of curfew laws. Curfews are often different on weekends and weeknights and are often different if you are under the age of 16 or under the age of 18.
Each city enforces its own laws and those of the State. A city’s law is sometimes called a 'Municipal Code' or 'City Code.’ Curfew times vary from city to city within Arizona. Your best source for the curfew law in your city is your local police department or city attorney’s office. You may also search a municipal code web site for more information. Generally, you can be out past curfew only if you:
- Are with your parent or guardian;
- Are with an adult and have prior permission from your parent or guardian;
- You are traveling to another state in a motor vehicle and have permission from your parent or guardian;
- You are going or returning from work by the most direct route without any detours or stops;
- You are involved in an emergency or have prior permission from your parent or guardian and are engaged in a reasonable, legitimate, and specific business and/or activity;
- You have prior permission from your parent or guardian, and engaged in a reasonable exercise of your First Amendment Rights protected by the United States Constitution;
- You are married and 16 years of age or over, or in the military, are on the sidewalk in front of your house or on the next-door neighbor's property with their consent.
Possible consequences if curfew is violated:
- Some police departments issue tickets for violating curfew
- Some may give you a warning or take you to the police station and call your parents
- You may have to pay a fine or do community service and have a juvenile record
- Your parents or guardian may have to pay a fine, do community service
- Both you and your parents may be found guilty of a misdemeanor.
A sample of some curfew laws for selected cities:
Casa Grande: Age 15 and under (every day, including weekends) : 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.; 16 -18 years (every day, including weekends) : Midnight to 5:00 a.m.
Chandler: Age 15 and under: 10 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. (every day, including weekends); Ages 16-18 years: Midnight to 5:00 a.m. (every day including weekends). Juveniles are allowed out after the specified times if they are accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or spouse, or have written permission from the same. Curfew is considered 'over' at 5 a.m.
Clarkdale/Cottonwood: Age 15 under: 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. every day, including weekends; Age 16 -17: Midnight to 5:00 a.m. every day, including weekends.
Mesa: Age 16 or younger: 10 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. every day, including weekends; Age 16-18: 12 am midnight to 5:00 a.m. every day, including weekends; Violating this law is a misdemeanor, and the penalties include a maximum fine of $2,500.00 or imprisonment for up to six (6) months, or both.
Phoenix (including the Ahwatukee area): Under age 16: 10 p.m. to 5:00 AM every day, including weekends; Age 16-18: 12 am midnight to 5:00 a.m. every day, including weekends
Peoria: Age 15 or under: 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 AM every day, including weekends; Age 16 -18: 12:00 to 5:00 a.m. every day, including weekends. Violating Peoria’s curfew law is a misdemeanor, and the penalties include a fine of $50 to $150 plus fees with mandatory community service or educational programs. Parents found guilty of allowing their kids to stay out past curfew are guilty of a class one misdemeanor too, and can be fined $100-$250. Parents might also have to pay extra fees related to the City's court costs and might have to perform community service, counseling, educational programs or even be placed on probation.
Scottsdale: Age 15 and under: 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. every day, including weekends; Age 16 -18: 12:00 to 5:00 a.m. every day, including weekends.
Tucson: Age 16 years or younger: 10 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. every day, including weekends; Age 16-18: midnight to 5:00 a.m. every day, including weekends. In addition, minors younger than 16 cannot remain, loiter or cruise in any vehicle in the county or its unincorporated areas between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. The same law applies to 16- and 17-year-olds, between midnight and 5 a.m. The fine for a curfew violation is $25 for the first violation, up to $50 for the second violation, and up to $75 for the third violation.
Your best source for the curfew law in your city is your local police department or city attorney’s office. You may also search an external Municipal Code web site for more city codes.
Smoking and Possessing Tobacco Products
Any person who knowingly sells or gives tobacco products to minors is guilty of a petty offense. Any minor who has tobacco in his or her possession is guilty of an incorrigible act. (ARS 13-3622).
Tobacco products are defined as cigars, cigarettes, or cigarette papers, and smoking or chewing tobacco. (ARS 13-3622) So if you are under the age of 18 you should not have any of these items. If you do, you are guilty of an incorrigible act.
In addition to this, smoking tobacco in locations such as elevators, buses, libraries, museums, and health care institutions is considered a public nuisance and dangerous to public health. An adult guilty of such acts would be charged with a petty offense, while a minor would be charged with a delinquent act. (ARS 36-601.01).
What about at school?
Using or possessing tobacco products on school grounds (buildings, parking lots, fields, and vehicles) or at off campus school sponsored events is a petty offense for adults and a delinquent act for minors. (ARS 36-798.03). The law does not apply to adults using tobacco products as a part of a tobacco prevention or cessation program. (ARS 36-798.03).
In South Carolina, it is against the law to sell a handgun to anyone under the age of eighteen. (16-23-30 (a)(3)). According to United States law, it is against the law to sell a handgun to anyone under the age of twenty-one. (18 U.S.C. 930(b)(1)).
In South Carolina, it is also illegal for a child under the age of eighteen to carry a handgun. (16-23-30(a)(3)). There are very specific guidelines for when adults (over the age of eighteen) are allowed to carry handguns in South Carolina. (16-23-20).
Anyone who buys or has a handgun without following the specific rules in the South Carolina law can go to jail for up to five years and be fined up to two thousand dollars. (16-23-50(a)).
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