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 free consultation to determine if you are eligible to seal your offense.

Helping You Protect Your Future

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What are the rights of the youth in Washington juvenile courts?

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Juvenile offenses |

Juvenile courts aim to hold the youth accountable and rehabilitate them while ensuring public safety. They accomplish this by seeking to attain the most favorable outcomes not just for the youth and but also for their communities. If your child is dealing with a charge for a felony or misdemeanor, how will you face such an ordeal?

Knowing your child’s rights

It is vital to navigate the juvenile justice process with awareness of the rights of the youth who are defendants or identified respondents. In Washington, the rights of alleged juvenile delinquents include the following:

  • Notification of charges: The youth should know the charges that they are facing. They must get the notification during the arraignment.
  • Having legal representation: The right to have a defense attorney also applies to the youth. Their defense attorney will review the case with them, represent them in court, present options and provide advice.
  • Not testifying against themselves: The youth may not be asked to commit self-incrimination.
  • Cross-examination of witnesses: In case the process leads to a fact-finding hearing or trial, the youth’s defense attorney may question the prosecution’s witnesses.

However, privacy is not among the rights of the youth because all matters of juvenile courts are public. Among the public records are charges against them and their adjudication, which could affect their chances of finding employment. To seal their juvenile records, the youth may file a request with the court if their criminal record makes them eligible to do so.

The role of parents

Meanwhile, parents of the youth facing charges do not have rights in juvenile courts. Despite this, they have the crucial role of giving support and guidance to their children. Moreover, they can help provide important information to the defense attorney and intake probation counselor.

Navigating a juvenile charge

A juvenile charge can be overwhelming and unbearable for you and especially your child. As you try to overcome your ordeal, getting legal counsel may help dispute the charge and protect your child’s record.