Three teenagers, including one who is legally a minor, were arrested by Prescott Valley police because they shot a firearm in a local park. The firearm was reportedly a stolen weapon, but there was no allegation that the teens were the ones who stole it.
According to reports, the teens were shooting the weapon in the early morning hours and then attempted to leave the park quickly. However, police caught up with their vehicle and stopped it.
After placing the teens under arrest, they say they located a weapon in the car which was tied to a recent burglary of a garage. The teens face charges of related to having a stolen weapon and shooting it, and one of them also is facing charges related to underage drunk driving. Police are investigating whether this weapon caused damaged to a residence that was near the park.
The minor who was allegedly involved in this incident was not taken to the county jail but instead to a separate detention center for juveniles. While it appears this child will be dealt with through Arizona’s juvenile justice system, the child still faces penalties and the potential of long-term consequences, as records of juvenile crimes are not completely forgotten once one becomes an adult.
Each of these teens has the right to make the State of Arizona prove the charges against them beyond a reasonable doubt and to do so in accord with both federal and state law. In particular, the police must show that they properly investigated this case and respected the constitutional rights of all three of these young defendants. These teens will likely want the help of experienced criminal defense, or juvenile defense, counsel when attempting to protect their rights and explore their options.