The phone rings. It is the principal of your child’s school, a security officer or a detective. They tell you they are holding your child and his is accused of a crime. It is no time to panic. You need help and your child needs help. Youthful indiscretions can come back to haunt your child, especially if they are convicted of a felony. The Juvenile Justice was designed to focus on the rehabilitation of a youth offender. Later, the Washington State legislature has shifted their focus to punishment of juvenile offenders rather than rehabilitation. You need a juvenile crime defense lawyer to fight false accusations or make sure this incident does not ruin your child’s future.
You need the Law Office of Philip E. Thornton to help your child and help you through this troubling time. I have practice criminal law for over 20 years and I have the knowledge, experience and the creativity to assist your child in resolving the accusation against them. I have represented juvenile offenders in Pierce, King and Thurston counties. Contact me for a free consultation if your child has been accused or charged with any criminal offense. The common youth criminal offenses include:
- Minor in Possession of Alcohol Underage and Minor DUI
- Shoplifting, theft, burglary and vandalism
- Taking of a Motor Vehicle Without Permission
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Sexual Assault
- Unlawful Possession of a Weapon
By statute, only juvenile court has the power to hear certain kinds of cases involving juveniles. Under RCW 13.04.030(1)(e), juvenile court has “exclusive original jurisdiction over all proceedings ... [r]elating to juveniles alleged or found to have committed offenses ...,” However, if your child is sixteen years or older, they may face more serious consequences. The Washington State Legislature has determined that while most crimes will be adjudicated in juvenile court when committed by teenagers, some felony crimes can be transferred to adult Superior Court for adjudication. This occurs when the Prosecuting Attorney request the juvenile court to “decline” its jurisdiction over your child. If the Court agrees with the Prosecuting Attorney, then your child may face adult penalties including incarceration in the Washington State Department of Corrections. If your child is sixteen and older and is accused of a serious violent felony crime, the juvenile court jurisdiction will be automatically declined and your child will only appear in adult Superior Court. Serious violent felonies include the following crimes:
- Murder in the First or Second Degree
- Assault in the First Degree
- Rape in First Degree
- Robbery in the First Degree
- Arson in the First Degree
- Child Rape in the First Degree
- Child Molestation in First Degree
- Burglary in the First Degree
If your child is accused of only one of these crimes, you need Philip Thornton to aggressively defend your child’s rights and protect his best interest. Call immediately for a free consultation.
How to Defend a Juvenile Case
First, you must determine exactly what crime your child is being accused of committing by the authorities. Once that has been determined you will know whether the case will be adjudicated in juvenile court or prosecuted in adult Superior Court. Often times, the answers to these questions can be obtained with a telephone call to the right person. I employ all of my knowledge and experience in performing the necessary tasks to keep children accused of a crime in the juvenile system and not the adult Superior Court system. I will meet with you and your child and together we will formulate a defense or, if necessary, engage in conversations with the Prosecuting Attorney to favorably resolve your child’s case. I have children of my own and understand the heartbreak of not being able to always protect your child from harm. Allow me to work hard to keep your child out of custody and avoid a felony conviction if at all possible. I understand the harm a felony record will carry over into adulthood.
For most first juvenile crimes, your child may be eligible to enter into a diversion program or an agreement with the Prosecuting Attorney for a deferred adjudication. Often times with a favorable resolution of the charges, I can later request the Juvenile Court to dismissed the matter if your child complies with the court's terms and stays out of trouble.
Get the Advice You Need To Protect Your Child’s Future
Call me at 253-383-3102 for a free consultation with an experienced juvenile defense attorney