People all across Washington make mistakes each and every day. Most of these mistakes go largely unnoticed, and it may feel unfair that your child is now facing criminal charges for his or her misstep. This is a frustrating situation that you might not know how to approach. Reaching out to someone with a more thorough understanding of juvenile law might be the right move for you and your child.

Minors can face criminal charges for a number of different offenses. Your teen could be charged for something like shoplifting, vandalism or possessing alcohol. These offenses are often little more than temporary lapses in judgment. Since teenagers are still growing and learning more about the world of becoming an adult, lapses in judgment are relatively common.

Most teens can expect to face their charges in juvenile court. Thanks to recent changes in Washington state law, juvenile court now has jurisdiction over minors all the way up to people who are 25 years old, and serious charges like first-degree burglary will not automatically send older teens to adult court. The prosecution may still try to have your teen’s case transferred over to adult court, so you may want to be prepared for that possibility.

Juvenile offenses affect more than just a person’s youth. Since your child’s criminal charges could impact opportunities for education and employment, his or her future is on the line as well. This is not a time to leave things to chance, so it could prove invaluable to learn more about juvenile law and possible defense strategies.