My teen is facing criminal charges — what now?

| Mar 26, 2021 | Juvenile offenses |

Making mistakes is not only part of life, but it is quite often expected that teenagers will spend their youth learning from those mistakes. However, not all mistakes are treated equally, and what you might see as a youthful error is now being treated as a criminal matter. If your teenager is facing criminal charges, you will need to be prepared for a rough road ahead of you.

Juvenile charges are unique

Heading to juvenile court is different than being tried as an adult. For example, your child might be charged with an offense that would not be considered a crime if he or she were older. Minor in possession of alcohol is a good example of why it is important to work closely with someone who understands the unique needs of a juvenile offender. Other common offenses include:

  • Juvenile domestic violence
  • Marijuana or drug paraphernalia possession
  • Shoplifting
  • Vandalism

Will my child be tried as an adult?

Juvenile court currently has jurisdiction over defendants as old as 25. It is still possible for teenagers to be tried as an adult depending on the crime charged, though. Recent changes to Washington state law did make it less likely for teens to be autodeclined — automatically sent to adult court — for certain charges, such as first-degree robbery.

This is probably a scary time of life for you and your family. Maybe you do not feel equipped to fully navigate the juvenile courts or are worried about your child facing criminal charges as an adult. Whatever your needs, you should be sure to reach out for experienced guidance through this process. You can learn more about finding that help and other aspects of juvenile law by visiting our website.