Just take a look at the headlines these days and it’s easy to see that crime among the juvenile population is an ongoing problem in Washington and across the United States. Many adolescents participate in things that are illegal just because they are bored and have nothing better to do. Unfortunately, some of them may commit crimes so serious that they can be charged as an adult even though they’re under the age of 18.
Teens automatically charged as adults
In King County, multiple juvenile offenders were recently charged as adults due to their criminal histories or the seriousness of the alleged offenses. According to reports, four teens recently escaped from a juvenile rehabilitation center in King County. They were charged as adults for theft of a motor vehicle, first-degree robbery and escape in the first degree.
Recently in Auburn, a 16-year-old was charged as an adult after he allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend at an intersection. In situations like this, a juvenile may be charged as an adult automatically in what is known as an “auto-decline.” According to the King County Department of Public Defense, an auto-decline is more common than a discretionary decline in which a prosecutor requests to charge a juvenile as an adult.
Options for defense
Most situations of juvenile misbehavior are just lapses in judgment and it is usually easy for minors to move on. However, when juveniles receive criminal charges, their lives can be affected for years. Those in Washington who have been charged with criminal offenses always reserve the right to seek legal counsel. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help determine the best path forward while protecting personal rights.