Juvenile Sex Charges

Law enforcement often times questions suspects at school, without parental consent.

Juvenile sex crime allegations in Washington State can result in sex offender registration requirements and detention. A juvenile attorney who has experience negotiating with the Sex Offender Unit and Juvenile Court prosecutors should be contacted as early on in the process as possible.

A sex offense lawyer can begin working on a mitigation package to prevent your child from being removed from their home and from being charged as an adult. If charges have not been filed, negotiations can sometimes prevent criminal charges from being filed or result in the filing of less serious charges. Minors should not speak to the police, investigators, or Juvenile Court representatives until they have first consulted with an experienced juvenile sex offense attorney.

In situations where there has been an admission of guilt to police or there is strong evidence that is not in your child’s favor, it is not time to give up. It is time to demonstrate to the court that treatment and rehabilitation are much better alternatives than detention.

Immediate Consequences

Even though your child is innocent unless proven otherwise, courts will often times restrict a minor’s freedom while the case is still pending. An accusation of a sex offense can result in a court order that requires a minor to be under the constant supervision of an adult and have no contact with children of a certain age.

This can be a significant burden for families with several children or with working parents. Due to circumstances at home (like the presence of younger siblings), the child may need to stay with another family member for the duration of the case. A skilled juvenile sex crime attorney can work with the prosecutor to minimize the impact of these conditions.

Types of Sex Crimes

Common felony juvenile sex crimes include:

  • Rape or Rape of a Child
  • Child Molestation
  • Indecent Liberties
  • Voyeurism
  • Sexual Misconduct with a Minor
  • Any felony with a Sexual Motivation Enhancement
  • Communicating with a Minor for Immoral Purposes
  • Sexual Misconduct with a Minor
  • Attempt/Conspiracy/Solicitation to commit a felony sex offense
  • Sending depictions of a minor engaged in sexual conduct (i.e. “sexting”).

If convicted of any of the above offenses, the consequences may include sex offender registration, jail time, fines, and treatment requirements.

Can my Child be Tried as an Adult?

If your child is over the age of 12 and they are accused of a felony sex crime, the prosecutor can ask the court to try the juvenile as an adult. If your child has reached the age of 16 and the crime is considered to be very serious (e.g., Rape of a Child or Child Molestation), the risk of having the case transferred to adult court increases. At the hearing, your attorney will have an opportunity to present a case for why your child should not be charged as an adult.

Can my child be charged with a sex offense against another child, even if they are the same age?

In WA State, a minor can be charged with a sex offense regardless of the age of the alleged victim. For example, a juvenile could be charged with rape if both parties are the same age; or rape of a child or child molestation if the alleged victim is statutorily younger.

Will my child have to serve time in jail?

If your attorney is unable to dismiss the case or have it reduced to a less serious charge, detention may be ordered by the court. However, some first time sex offenders may be eligible for the Special Sexual Offender Disposition Alternative (SSODA) program. SSODA is a community supervision program that focuses on treatment and rehabilitation as opposed to jail time.

To determine eligibility, a probation officer will prepare a social history of the juvenile. A Washington State certified sex offender therapists will then evaluate the minor for risk to the community and for receptiveness to treatment. Juveniles who are determined to be safe to remain in the community and receptive to treatment are eligible for the program. Some of the requirements may include registering as a sex offender, periodic meetings with probation and/or a sex offender therapist, restricting contact to certain individuals, and being subject to adult supervision. The SSODA program has a promising success rate for juveniles convicted of sex offenses in areas such as Seattle, Everett, Tacoma, Bellevue, and Olympia.

Defense of Sex Crimes

All juvenile sex crime accusations are very serious. It is a good idea to hire an attorney who can not only dedicate the time and resources needed to defend your child, but also has the skill and experience needed to generate a favorable outcome in the Juvenile Court System.

At Beckwith Juvenile Law, your child is not a file or a number. Your child is a person with a bright future. As advocates, we do everything in our power to protect and defend minors, regardless of the circumstances. We understand that teenagers can be impulsive and that good kids make mistakes.

We fight for juveniles accused of a crime throughout Puget Sound, including the courts of Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, Everett, and Olympia, Washington. Contact us today for a free consultation.