The Juvenile Justice System in Washington State can sometimes be more lenient than adult court. However, the assumption of leniency is often times responsible for the mishandling of juvenile cases.
In Juvenile Court, the penalties, goals, and procedures are very different than adult court. Far too often, improper legal representation results in penalties that could have been significantly reduced or eliminated.
Communicating with the Police
It is a common misunderstanding that a parent must be notified before a minor is questioned by the police. The reality is that the police will often times question a teen at school, away from the protection of a parent or lawyer.
Unfortunately, there is no law stating that a police officer must be truthful when questioning a minor. In Seattle and other parts of King County, it is quite common for the police to use deception or trickery to force a teen into making harmful statements. This can result in the filing of more serious or additional criminal charges.
An experienced juvenile attorney should handle all communication with law enforcement, prosecutors, and the court. This will ensure that your teenager has the best opportunity to avoid a juvenile conviction and the life changing consequences that can result.
There are many special programs in King County and WA State that are geared towards rehabilitation, as opposed to jail time. These programs can be especially valuable in cases where there was an admission of guilt to law enforcement, or there is strong evidence against your child. The circumstances of your child’s case as well as the negotiating skills of your juvenile defense attorney will determine whether or not a favorable program is available.
Special Programs include:
- Community Service
- After School Programs
- Alcohol & Drug Treatment
- Aggression Replacement Training
- Mental Health Counseling
- Youth Workforce Development
Fighting Juvenile Charges
Cristine Beckwith is a Seattle juvenile lawyer who has a proven track record for defending minors. She defends charges that range in seriousness from felony sex crimes and assault to theft, drug charges, and alcohol related crimes.
Cristine is also a parent who understands that teenagers can be impulsive and that good teens make mistakes. Regardless of the circumstances, she will do a private investigation to uncover any issues that can be helpful to the criminal defense of your child.
Cristine understands the importance of keeping a juvenile conviction off of your teen’s permanent record. Her ability to find evidentiary issues and negotiate with prosecutors can often times result in a case dismissal or acceptance into a program that prevents a juvenile conviction and the resulting penalties.
Cristine can be contacted any day of the week for a free consultation.