Minors & Washington Law

Minors and adults have different freedoms and different responsibilities, but minors can be charged and tried for crimes just like adults. Therefore, teens and parents should know how the law views minors. In this blog post, we will examine the juvenile booking, detention, and trial process.

Juvenile Arrest

The police procedure for arresting and booking a minor is strikingly like the procedure for arresting and booking an adult. Police will ask minors questions to gather information, but minors (like adults) should refuse to answer these questions if they are incriminating. If a minor is approached by an officer, he or she should ask, “Am I free to go?” to determine if they are under arrest. If the officer says no, the minor should request a lawyerimmediately.

Additionally, minors have the same rights as adults when under arrest. An officer can search the minor’s person, but he or she cannot search the minor’s possessions without probable cause or permission. Therefore, if cops ask a minor to search his things, he should say no.

Booking & Juvenile Court

Two things can happen to a minor after they’re booked. A minor could be released to the custody of his or her parents or legal guardians. This happens when the offense is considered a “book-and-release” scenario.

A minor could be taken to a local juvenile detention facility for holding until he or she is formally charged. Once formally charged, he or she could be released or kept in detention until the probable cause hearing.

Like adults, a judge will determine if there is probable cause for the minor’s arrest. If the judge finds no probable cause, the case will be thrown out. However, if the judge finds probable cause, the minor could be released pending further arraignment or kept in custody.

Hiring a knowledgeable criminal defense attorneybefore the probable cause hearing is crucial to the minor’s case, as proving there were no grounds for the arrest could stop the criminal proceedings.

Once a minor is charged with a crime, he or she will likely be tried in a juvenile court. In some circumstances, juveniles can be tried in regular courts as adults, but this is uncommon. Additionally, it’s important to note that children under eight cannot be charged with crimes.

Potential Penalties for a Juvenile Convicted of a Crime

If a minor is convicted of a crime, he or she could face serious penalties; however, typically speaking, minors are not sent to jails for their crimes.

A juvenile convict could face one or more of the following penalties:

• Community Supervision (Probation) and allowed to go home;

• Counseling and/or substance abuse treatment;

• Work without pay on jobs that benefit the community (community service);

• Serve time in a juvenile detention center;

• Serve time in an institution run by the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA).

Like adults, minors may be on parole after they’re released from a juvenile institution (JRA). Minors must follow all the rules of parole if they want to stay out of juvenile detention. If a minor breaks parole, he or she can be sent back to JRA.

Representation Is Possible

Like adults, minors have the right to representation for their cases. If you or a loved one is charged with a juvenile DUI, the Law Office of Mark Garka can help! One of the goals of our firm is to represent teens who get DUI or possession charges.

Call (888) 252-1961 now for a free consultation concerning your juvenile DUI case.