Juvenile Defense

Juvenile Defense

The timely involvement by an experienced juvenile lawyer will often times keep a pending case from being charged in court or mitigate the long term impact that can result from the detention of a minor. If you are a parent who wants to keep a conviction from going on your child's criminal record or if you want to defend your child from pending juvenile charges, Cristine Beckwith is an experienced juvenile defense attorney.

Cristine is also a parent who understands and has compassion for her juvenile clients and their families. The information below has been provided to help you understand the criminal process for minors charged in Washington State, including the Tacoma, Seattle, Puyallup, Olympia, and Bellevue, WA areas.

Juvenile Law in WA State

The Juvenile Justice System has a goal of rehabilitating and treating minors who have committed a crime. As a result of this goal, there are many options and special programs for dealing with juvenile offenses in King, Pierce, & Thurston County. These include:

  • Treatment Programs
  • Diversion
  • School System Programs
  • Community Supervision
  • Informal and Formal Probation
  • Various Community & Social Service Departments

The juvenile legal system in Washington State gives prosecutors, law enforcement, and probation officers a lot of power in the handling of minors accused of a crime. Often, the arresting law enforcement officer can turn the minor over to their parents or legal guardian.

The police also have the authority to take the accused minor to a juvenile detention center. However, incarceration due to pending charges is less common in juvenile cases than adult cases due to all of the alternative programs. It is important to hire a juvenile attorney who has experience with juvenile court cases, in order to help minimize the risk of pretrial jail time.

Being Charged as an AdultSerious felony offenses (violent crimes & sex crimes) can be declined by juvenile court and tried in adult court. Your child has a right to a declination hearing, where your juvenile attorney will argue that the case should stay in juvenile court. The penalties on these serious offenses are significantly higher in adult court, so it is important that your juvenile lawyer is experienced with the declination process.

Communicating with the Police

Most of the constitutional rights that adults have are also provided for juveniles who are accused of a crime. Most importantly, it is required that they be read the Miranda Warning. Often times, law enforcement will question minors at school, without the parent's knowledge. The police are not required to inform a minor that they can request the presence of a parent or guardian, but they do have to abide by the request if asked.

Just as adults can, a minor can invoke their right to remain silent and their right to a juvenile defense attorney. It is very important to consult with a juvenile attorney before a minor communicates with the police. Law enforcement is not required to tell the truth when interrogating and they often times try to trick minors into giving incriminating statements.

Defending Minors

There are many ways to handle juvenile cases and it is important to be represented by a juvenile criminal attorney who has a proven track record for getting the best result. It is also important to have someone in your corner who knows what types of crimes will stay on their juvenile record and how to clear a juvenile record when they have been convicted of a crime.

You do not want your child starting adulthood with a criminal record. Cristine Beckwith is an attorney who advocates for minors accused of a crime in the Puget Sound, including the cities of Seattle, Tacoma, Puyallup, Olympia, and Bellevue, WA. She can be contacted any day of the week to answer questions and discuss a defense strategy.

Juvenile Practice AreasKing County Juvenile Court

In Seattle, the King County Youth Service Center is where the juvenile court and detention facility are located. The address is 1211 East Alder Avenue, which is located in Seattle's Central District and is one block South of Seattle University.

Pierce County Juvenile Court

In Pierce County, the juvenile court (Remann Hall) and the Pierce County Juvenile Detention Facility are located at 5501 6th Ave in Tacoma. The Juvenile Division is part of Pierce County Superior Court. Most juvenile matters are held at this location, except for declination hearings and trials. The declination hearings and trials are held at the County-City Building, which is located at 930 Tacoma Avenue South.