Receiving that phone call from law enforcement that your child is in juvenile detention in Tacoma is a scary time. They tell you your child has been charged with a crime, and that he or she will have to go to court (Pierce County Juvenile Court). Children make mistakes, but a youthful indiscretion should not haunt your child for the rest of his or her life. With the right criminal defense strategy in juvenile court, your child's charges could be reduced or even dismissed.
Juvenile Charges in Tacoma, WA
Juvenile charges are treated differently than adult criminal charges, but this does not mean they are not serious. While the juvenile justice system is more lenient and focuses on rehabilitation as compared to adult crimes, these charges can still come back to haunt a child in his or her later years. This is especially true when your child begins to apply to colleges or look for work.
Common charges Washington youth face include:
- theft crimes (shoplifting, theft, burglary, and vandalism)
- taking of a motor vehicle without permission
- minor in possession of alcohol or minor DUI
- juvenile assault
- juvenile harassment
- sexual assault or rape
- unlawful possession of a weapon
- possession of a controlled substance (drugs)
With the right legal defense, you can help to protect your child's best interests and his or her future.
What Should I Do After My Child's Arrest?
The first step you should take as soon as possible after an arrest is to reach out to an experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney. The juvenile justice system is unique and requires a well-versed background in the juvenile justice system to navigate. With the right attorney at your side, you can protect your child from the worst possible consequences possible.
Your child's defense attorney can move the prosecutor and judge towards rehabilitation rather than punishment. There are programs offered to youth that take the place of incarceration. Behind bars is no place for your child. These rehabilitation programs include, but are not limited to:
- Option B or C (community-based probation as an alternative to incarceration)
- Community service
- Drugs and alcohol treatment program
- Mental health counseling
- After-school programs
- Aggression replacement training
- Youth workforce development
- Non-profit, service-based programs
There is never a guarantee that one of these programs will be available in every situation--but with the help of an attorney who knows the system, the players, and the law--your child will have the best chance of avoiding jail or prison.
When a child is able to take advantage of these programs, his or her health and mental well-being are protected. This can also have a significant difference in the impact a charge may have, or if it remains on a child's record.
Consult a Tacoma Juvenile Justice Attorney
If your child has been arrested for a criminal offense in Tacoma or the surrounding area, you need an experienced Tacoma juvenile defense attorney to defend the child's case and protect his or her constitutional rights.
Experienced Washington criminal defense attorney James Curtis at The Curtis Firm can help with your child's criminal case. Contact us today for a free consultation. We also serve Pierce County, King County, and Thurston County.