My Child Was Arrested: What Can I Do?
It's a parent's worst nightmare — your child is accused of a crime. You probably have dozens of questions. What happens next? Will this go down on his permanent record? Will she have to go to juvenile detention? Will I owe significant fines? Will my child need to perform community service? This can be a seriously turbulent time for you and your family.
The first step in getting answers to your questions is contacting a Washington juvenile crimes defense attorney. Your lawyer can work to lessen the consequences of the crime with which your child is accused of or charged, and help him or her move on to a brighter future.
Juvenile Law in Washington State
A juvenile crime is any crime committed by a minor (a person under the age of 18). The goal of the juvenile court system is, unlike the adult correctional system, less about punishment and more about rehabilitation. Courts take into account factors such as the offender's age, previous offenses, severity of the offense, and other issues. Typical approaches to dealing with juvenile offenders include:
- Treatment programs
- Diversion programs
- Social services
- Informal and formal probation
- Community supervision
In most cases, law enforcement will release minors to the custody of their parents or guardians instead of incarceration.
With more serious crimes, however, a juvenile may be tried as an adult. These types of crimes include felony offenses such as violent crimes and sex crimes.
Next Steps for Juvenile Offenders
Your child's Washington defense attorney can work to lessen potential consequences should he or she be found guilty of the alleged crime in juvenile court. Additionally, because a conviction can follow one around forever, ensure your lawyer later petitions the court for expungement. An expungement will vacate a conviction from your child's record and make it as if it never happened.
Don't let your child's mistake tear your family apart. Contact a Tacoma juvenile crime defense attorney as soon as possible.