One of the hardest things a parent will ever have to experience is finding out that their child was arrested. Unfortunately, for hundreds of parents in Washington State this will become a reality every year. Getting that phone call from jail can be frightening. The most important thing to remember is to stay calm and to make sure your child realizes that you are going to help them get the help they need. The biggest mistake you can make would be to let their emotions get them in more trouble.
In 2016, 12,184 total arrests were made of juveniles in Washington state. This included 3,151 property crime arrests and 782 violent crime arrests. 856,130 juvenile arrests were made of minors under the age of 18 in 2016 across the country.
The good news is that this number has been steadily going down over the last few years. The bad news is that many children will have a difficult time redeeming themselves after they are convicted of a crime early on in life. It is incredibly important to speak with a qualified attorney immediately to see what can be done to help.
Children and adolescents often lack the judgment of adults and generally are not mature enough to fully understand the consequences of their actions. The State of Washington recognizes that when juveniles make mistakes, use poor judgment, and get into trouble with the law, applying the full force of the adult justice system is not beneficial to the child or to society, that’s why you need an experienced Tacoma juvenile defense lawyer in your corner. In the interest of preventing young offenders from being exposed to hardened adult criminals, the state established a system of juvenile justice designed to be more rehabilitative and less punitive than the adult system. Its focus is to provide appropriate guidance to help get young people who have committed crimes back on track to a productive and law-abiding adulthood.
Unfortunately, there has been a tendency recently toward dispensing with the concept of a justice system designed to serve the unique needs of juveniles and forcing some young offenders into the adult system. This is very short-sighted and could result in the creation of child career criminals, who could have turned around with the proper guidance. Most current research has shown that when juveniles are tried as adults it does nothing to curb their future behavior. Some studies have even shown that it actually increases the likelihood that they will commit another crime.
Once a minor has been thrown into the adult system and convicted as an adult, the chances of ever having anything resembling a normal life are minimal. Above all else, if your child has been charged with a crime, you need to ensure that he or she will not be certified into the adult system by contacting a skilled Tacoma juvenile defense attorney. You will want to have the most skilled lawyer available to help you protect your child’s future.
Under the United States Constitution, everyone, including juveniles, has the right to legal representation. That means that most juvenile defendants will be assigned a public defender rather than a juvenile defense attorney. Many public defenders are extremely dedicated attorneys who put in long hours and do the very best job they can, but their caseloads are usually overwhelming and simply don’t allow them to give all their juvenile clients the focused attention they deserve.
If your child has been arrested, you may be in a state of shock. You are probably feeling angry at the child and at the same time worried about the outcome of their case and the effect it will have on his or her future. This is a time when your child needs help. In order to minimize the amount of permanent harm, you should hire a juvenile defense attorney in Tacoma, WA who is able to devote time and attention to your child’s case. Look for someone who will work to keep your child in the juvenile system, one that was created to meet the needs of young defendants. Find a juvenile lawyer who is able to navigate that system to achieve an outcome in the child’s best interest, without closing the door to a successful future.
If the worst happens and the state does certify the child to be tried as an adult, it is even more important to have a skilled Tacoma criminal defense lawyer with the knowledge and commitment to make your child’s case in pretrial negotiations with prosecutors and at trial.
The right lawyer can give your child at risk a shot at having a future. Tacoma juvenile defense lawyer Mark Treyz understands the anguish you’re feeling when your child is facing a criminal charge. He is deeply committed to achieving a resolution that will get your child back on track with a minimum of damage to the prospect of a full, meaningful, and productive life.