As of November 1, 2023, most juveniles will no longer have to register as a sex offender and be eligible to seal their convictions. Law enforcement will start removing eligible people from the registry soon and mailing letters confirming they have been removed. If you receive a letter indicating that you have been removed from the registry, please contact our office for a consultation to determine if you are eligible to seal your offense.

Helping You Protect Your Future

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Can your child be tried as an adult?

On Behalf of | May 22, 2024 | Juvenile offenses |

In Washington, most kids in trouble with the law go to juvenile court. This system focuses on helping them learn from their mistakes and become responsible adults. Still, it begs the question: is there a slight chance that your child will face adult court instead?

When can my child face adult court?

Your child may face adult court if they committed severe violent offenses. If your child is 16 or 17 years old and facing murder, manslaughter, rape, assault with a weapon or a kidnapping charge, they may automatically go to adult court. In some situations, judges have a choice. If your child is 14 or older and charged with murder in the first or second degree, a judge can decide whether adult court is necessary. This decision considers your child’s past criminal history, the severity of the crime and the risk they pose to the community.

What can parents do?

Washington’s laws changed in 2018, making it harder for kids to end up in adult court. But if their case is sent to adult court and they are convicted, the bill allows them to remain in the state juvenile prison system (rehabilitation) until they turn 25, instead of being sent to prison when they turn 21.

If a judge refers your child’s case to adult court, it is crucial to take proactive steps immediately. You may seek legal counsel with experience in these situations to represent your child and advise on the next course of action. Naturally, this is a stressful time for both parent and child, and you must openly talk to them, listen to their fears, and assure them that you will stay by their side throughout.