Seattle Juvenile & Student Crimes Attorney(206) 895-6728
If your child has been charged with a juvenile offense in Seattle you are right to be worried. Your child has their whole life in front of them and you obviously want to protect their future.
If your child has been accused of a juvenile offense in Washington, it is natural to feel concerned about their future. As a parent, you want to ensure that your child receives the best legal representation to avoid the potential consequences of a criminal record or juvenile detention.
Without prompt and effective legal assistance, a juvenile criminal case can become more complex and have long-term consequences that could negatively impact your child’s future. If your minor son or daughter has been charged with a criminal offense in the Seattle area, it’s important to seek the help of a qualified attorney who can provide you with answers to your questions and work towards the best possible outcome for your child.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation, contact the Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC at (206) 895-6728, and speak to juvenile and student crimes attorney Morgan Fletcher Benfield.
Juvenile Law & Penalties in Washington State
The juvenile court system in Washington (RCW Title 13) is specifically designed for individuals under the age of 18 who are accused of committing a crime. Unlike the adult criminal justice system, the focus is on rehabilitating and treating offenders rather than punishing them. To achieve this, Washington offers various options such as fines, substance abuse treatment, home detention, probation, community service, and incarceration depending on the juvenile’s offense, prior history, and circumstances. Other state agencies and community programs, such as schools and the Department of Social and Health Services, can also participate to aid in rehabilitation efforts.
When it comes to handling juvenile charges, law enforcement, and prosecutors have a great deal of discretion. Depending on the situation, they may release the minor to their legal guardian or take them to juvenile hall. Some of the most common juvenile offenses include drug crimes, underage DUI, vandalism/malicious mischief, theft, and assault. Even seemingly minor offenses, such as possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia, can have a lasting impact on a juvenile’s record, and a DUI or assault conviction can result in serious consequences that can affect their future opportunities.
When is a Juvenile Charged as an Adult?
In certain serious situations, a minor as young as 14 may be transferred from the Washington Juvenile Court System and treated as an adult. This includes cases involving violent or sex crimes. If this is a possibility, the minor has the right to a declination hearing, during which a judge will decide whether to move the case to the adult system. It is crucial to have a skilled criminal defense attorney present at the hearing to argue for keeping the case under the juvenile system, as the consequences are much more severe in the normal criminal justice system.
How a Seattle Juvenile Attorney Can Help Defend Your Child
It is highly recommended to seek legal counsel from a juvenile and student crimes attorney for any juvenile charges in Washington. Such an attorney can skillfully present your child’s case in a positive light, negotiate for a reduction or dismissal of charges, and advocate for inclusion in any available diversion or probation programs. In the event that court representation becomes necessary, an attorney can fight for your child’s rights. Although a minor does not have the right to a jury trial, they are entitled to an “adjudication” before a judge, and an attorney can be instrumental in ensuring this process is handled as efficiently and effectively as possible to minimize negative consequences.
As a parent, you understand the importance of maintaining a clear criminal record for your child’s future opportunities such as attending college, finding a job, and obtaining financial assistance. In cases where an arrest or conviction does appear on your child’s record, an attorney can assist with sealing, vacating, or expunging the conviction. Such legal actions can effectively remove the incident as if it never occurred or ensure that it is permanently concealed from the general view.
Contact The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC Right Away
We understand that juvenile charges in Washington can arise from various situations, including misunderstandings, overreactions, or even a need for assistance. In each juvenile case, we strive to assess your child’s specific circumstances, reduce any adverse effects, and secure a resolution that sets them up for success.