Juvenile Crimes

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HAS YOUR CHILD BEEN CHARGED WITH A CRIMINAL ACT?

According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, juvenile crime activity throughout Seattle is concentrated in public and commercial areas where youth typically gather. These areas include schools, youth centers, shops, malls and restaurants, instead of residential areas. Juvenile crime rates vary from one street segment to the next, and police efforts often target these hot spots to try to reduce crime. Statistics show that juvenile crime is likely to be highly concentrated geographically, and sometimes juveniles are arrested without substantial evidence simply because they are at the wrong place at the wrong time.

The one thing you must keep in mind with these types of cases is that juvenile law is dramatically different from adult criminal law. Over the years, our Seattle criminal defense attorneys have represented many juveniles and will work very hard to ensure that the case stays in the juvenile court system so that your child will get the second chance they deserve. If you or a teenage family member need experienced representation to assist in the Washington juvenile court system, you have come to the right place.

UNDERSTANDING THE JUVENILE LEGAL SYSTEM IN SEATTLE

The Washington Juvenile Court System was designed to handle matters associated with juvenile law that involve violations of the law committed by those under the age of 18. The juvenile justice system was created with the goal of treatment and rehabilitation for juvenile offenders, instead of being primarily concerned with punishment. The state's juvenile justice system has a broad range of methods and programs for addressing juvenile crime, and some of these include fines, treatment programs, incarceration, detention and community supervision. Because this system has a goal of rehabilitation, schools, social service agencies and community-based organizations have more of a role to play in the state's Juvenile Justice System.

For these reasons, keeping an underage client in the juvenile system is extremely important and will be a top priority. Our criminal defense lawyers will do everything they can to keep a juvenile from being tried as an adult. Washington law states that some minors can be transferred from juvenile court to the adult court for specified serious or violent cases, but our attorneys will take action from the start to get the defendant into a diversionary program instead. A diversion program is an alternative to prosecution. If a juvenile fulfills his or her diversion agreement, the criminal record may be sealed.

In the Juvenile Justice System, a minor will be given the same constitutional rights as an adult. For example, a minor has the right to invoke their Miranda rights and can refuse to make a statement until an attorney is present. Minors may also request to have their parents present before any questioning by law enforcement can take place. If a case does go to juvenile court, the minor is not entitled to a jury trial, but only to an "Adjudication" (trial) in front of a judge. The burden of proof for a juvenile case will be the same for an adult court, and it is critically important to have the protection of a Seattle juvenile defense lawyer during this process.

JUVENILE LAW CASES

The criminal defense attorneys at our firm handle juvenile law cases that involve many different types of crimes, including minors in possession of alcohol, assault, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, all types of theft and destructing of property. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers also represent juvenile clients who have been arrested for DUI and other serious traffic offenses. However, DUI and some of the most serious traffic offenses are not handled in the juvenile justice system but rather by adult municipal and district courts. Regardless of what your criminal charges may be, we are prepared to come to your defense and to build a strong defense strategy for you. Contact our firm today to schedule your free case evaluation!

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