Juvenile Sentencing: Understanding Your Options

When dealing with juvenile offenders in Olympia, Washington, the criminal justice system aims to balance accountability with rehabilitation, recognizing the unique circumstances and potential for growth in young individuals. The state of Washington has implemented a range of sentencing options specifically tailored to address the needs of juvenile offenders. These options include diversion programs, probation, incarceration, and various alternative sentencing measures. Guidance and support from an attorney with experience in juvenile law can significantly influence the outcome of a juvenile’s sentencing, depending on the specific circumstances of their case.

Diversion Programs: Alternatives to the Court

Diversion programs represent a sentencing option that seeks to divert juvenile offenders away from the traditional court process. These programs offer an alternative to formal prosecution by focusing on rehabilitation and community-based interventions. In Olympia, diversion programs can include counseling, community service, educational programs, and other activities aimed at addressing the underlying causes of delinquent behavior. Diversion programs are advantageous because they provide opportunities for rehabilitation without subjecting young offenders to the long-term consequences of a criminal record.

Probation: Compliance Instead of Incarceration

Probation is another commonly utilized sentencing option for juvenile offenders in Olympia. It involves close supervision by a probation officer, who ensures compliance with court-ordered conditions. Probation may require regular check-ins, adherence to curfews, participation in counseling or educational programs, and restitution to victims. The advantage of probation lies in its focus on community-based supervision and support, allowing juveniles to remain in their homes and schools while receiving necessary guidance and rehabilitation services.

Incarceration: The Last Resort

Incarceration, though generally considered a last resort, remains a sentencing option for serious offenses or repeat offenders. Incarceration serves as a means to protect public safety and deter further criminal activity. However, the primary goal, even in these cases, is still rehabilitation. Efforts are made to provide educational, vocational, and counseling services to incarcerated juveniles, aiming to reintegrate them into society as law-abiding citizens upon their release.

Alternative Sentencing Measures: Another Choice

The state of Washington recognizes the significance of alternative sentencing measures for juvenile offenders. These options provide creative and tailored solutions that address the specific needs and circumstances of the young individual. Examples of alternative sentencing measures include house arrest, electronic monitoring, community service, restitution, deferred dispositions and therapeutic programs. Such measures focus on rehabilitation while holding the juvenile accountable for their actions, promoting personal growth and reintegration into the community.

How a Juvenile Law Attorney Can Help

Hiring a lawyer can help you navigate the juvenile justice system and advocate for appropriate sentencing options. A juvenile law attorney can ensure the rights of the juvenile are protected, negotiate for lesser penalties, and advocate for alternative sentencing measures that promote rehabilitation over punishment. Such a lawyer who’s familiar with the local court system in Olympia can assess the unique circumstances of the case, gather evidence, present arguments, and advocate for the most favorable outcome.

Legal help can aid in obtaining a fair and proportional sentence. Juvenile offenders may come from diverse backgrounds, and their cases may involve various mitigating factors. An experienced attorney can effectively present these factors to the court and highlight any extenuating circumstances, trauma, or other relevant aspects that may warrant a more lenient or alternative sentencing option. By working with legal counsel, juvenile offenders can have a better chance of getting a sentence that’s both commensurate with their individual circumstances and conducive to their rehabilitation.

Contact The Law Office of David Lousteau

If you’re dealing with juvenile sentencing in Olympia, Washington or the surrounding area, you can contact The Law Office of David Lousteau, PLLC, for a free consultation. We defend the rights of the accused and help you navigate the juvenile law process.

Visit us online or call us at (360) 493-2600 for an immediate response. We look forward to helping you with your case.

What Types of Cases Does a Juvenile Court Typically Handle in Washington?

Courts in Washington state try juvenile legal cases under several categories. These categories reflect both the types of offenses that minors may commit, and the legal procedures that apply to each. You give yourself a distinct advantage when you work with a skilled criminal defense attorney on these kinds of cases. Here are some of the types of juvenile legal cases that are handled in Washington state.

Dependency Cases

These cases involve children who have been abandoned, abused, or neglected by their parents or legal guardians. Dependency cases typically begin with a petition filed by a state agency, such as the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), and can result in the removal of the child from their home, and placement in foster care or with relatives. Dependency cases are meant to ensure the safety and well-being of children, and to provide services and support to families so they can address the issues that lead to a child’s removal.

Truancy Cases

These cases involve students who miss a certain number of days of school without a valid excuse. Washington state law considers truant students who miss more than five days of school in a month or ten days in a year. Truancy cases can result in fines, community service, driver’s license suspension or other consequences. Truancy laws are designed to encourage regular school attendance and address any underlying issues that may contribute to truancy.

Status Offense Cases

These cases involve behavior that’s illegal because the offender is a minor. These can included curfew violations, runaway behavior, or underage drinking. Washington state law handles these cases differently than other juvenile legal cases because the behavior would not be illegal if committed by an adult. Washington courts typically handle status offense cases through diversion programs, which provide counseling, community service, and other interventions meant to help minors address underlying issues that lead to this type of behavior.

Juvenile Delinquency Cases

These cases involve offenses that would be considered crimes if they were committed by an adult. These offenses can range from disorderly conduct, minor theft and vandalism, to car theft, burglary, and assault. Washington state handles juvenile delinquency cases in juvenile court, with an emphasis on rehabilitation instead of punishment. Juvenile delinquency cases are designed to address underlying issues that contribute to a minor’s criminal behavior. Courts also aim to provide services and support that can help offending minors reintegrate into the community.

Restitution Cases

These cases involve minors who have caused harm or damage to another person or property. Restitution cases are designed to hold the minor accountable for their actions and to provide compensation to the victim. Compensation for these cases can take the form of monetary payments, community service, or other forms.

Contact The Law Office of David Lousteau

if you’re dealing with a juvenile legal case in Olympia, Washington or the surrounding area, you can contact The Law Office of David Lousteau, PLLC for a free consultation. We defend the rights of the accused and help you navigate the juvenile law process. Visit us online or call us at (360) 493-2600 for an immediate response. We look forward to helping you with your case.

Reasons Why a Prosecutor May Drop Domestic Violence Charges

Getting charged with domestic violence can be scary. You could be facing jail time, domestic violence classes, fines, and other consequences. It can also be very disruptive to relationships if the court issues a no contact order.  That’s why it’s critical to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.

Here are some reasons why a prosecutor may drop domestic violence charges. 

The “Victim” Was Lying

In some cases, the alleged victim was actually lying about what happened.  Perhaps they sought revenge because of something you did, or they are trying to get something they want. An experienced attorney can help identify inconsistencies in their story which strengthens your case. 

It Was Self-Defense

You may have struck someone out of self-defense because they were coming after you. Self-defense is not illegal. However, you cannot use more force than necessary – i.e. shoot a gun when someone is throwing punches – but you are absolutely allowed to stick up for yourself so that you don’t get hurt. 

There’s a Lack of Evidence

There needs to be credible evidence to convict you of domestic violence. If there isn’t, the prosecutor doesn’t have a case. 

With the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney like David Lousteau, you can combat these charges and hopefully have the charges reduced – or dropped altogether. 

Contact The Law Office of David Lousteau

Were you arrested for domestic violence in the state of Washington, Olympia, or Lacey area? Then contact The Law Office of David Lousteau, PLLC for your free consultation. We fight for you and defend the rights of the accused. Visit us online or call us at (360) 493-2600 for an immediate response. We look forward to helping you with your case.

How Is Domestic Violence Defined in the State of Washington?

Domestic violence is an umbrella term that is made up of different kinds of criminal activities in the state of Washington. If you’re facing domestic violence charges, it’s important to know the actual crime you’ve been charged with and the possible penalties you’re facing if you’re convicted.

Here’s some more information.

Domestic Violence in Washington

Domestic violence occurs when something happens between one or more members of a family or household. It could include former or current spouses or romantic partners, adults related by blood or marriage, siblings, or someone you have a child with. The crimes that occur include stalking, assault (and sexual assault), bodily injury, physical harm, making someone fearful of physical harm, assault, or bodily injury. Essentially, all you have to do is threaten someone to possibly face domestic violence charges.

Penalties for Domestic Violence in Washington

If you are convicted of domestic violence, you could be handed a misdemeanor or felony, and the penalties vary from up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine to several years in prison and even higher fines. You could also have to abide by a restraining order, not be able to see your children, be required to attend a domestic violence class, and more. That’s why it’s critical to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney ASAP.

Contact The Law Office of David Lousteau

Were you arrested for domestic violence in the state of Washington, Olympia, or Lacey area? Then contact The Law Office of David Lousteau, PLLC for your free consultation. We fight for you and defend the rights of the accused. Visit us online or call us at (360) 493-2600 for an immediate response. We look forward to helping you with your case.

How an Experienced Olympia Juvenile Defense Attorney Can Help

Your teen got into trouble and now could be facing harsh penalties for what they allegedly did. You’re worried about what’s going to happen. You don’t want your teen to have to go to a juvenile detention center.

Instead of trying to navigate the complex court system on your own, take matters into your own hands and hire an experienced Olympia juvenile defense attorney. Here’s how they can assist you at this time.

They Will Review Your Case

A juvenile defense attorney in Olympia can review your teen’s case and possibly get it dismissed. Or, they may be able to get a reduced sentence for your teen, such as house arrest or community service.

They Can Connect With Prosecutors

An Olympia juvenile defense attorney will have connections with prosecutors in the area, which could serve your teen well. Your attorney will highlight your teen’s positive attributes in court and hopefully be able to speed up the legal process as well. Then, you won’t be left in limbo for months on end.

They Will Support You

Your attorney is here for you during this tumultuous time. They will be in your corner, answer your questions, address your concerns, and keep you updated at all times. They will be your partner in this.

Were you arrested for a crime in Olympia, Washington, or surrounding areas? Then contact The Law Office of David Lousteau, PLLC, for your free consultation. We fight for you and defend the rights of the accused. Visit us online or call us at (360) 493-2600 for an immediate response. We look forward to helping you with your case.

Mistakes To Avoid With a DUI Incident in Olympia

Encountering police and getting arrested for suspicion of DUI in Olympia is stressful. Several important things are at stake including whether or not you serve jail time, have a license suspension, or pay a large fine. Whether this is your first DUI event or you have been through it before, there are mistakes you should try to avoid. Here are some of them.

Talking to the Police

Other than identifying yourself and providing basic vehicle information, avoid answering police questions. There is no advantage to you by answering questions. You have the right under the U.S. and Washington State Constitutions not to, and, you could end up saying the wrong thing and hurting your case.

Not Calling an Attorney Promptly

Even though the court may provide you with a public defender, there are some things a public defender cannot do for you. The biggest one is advising you whether to file for a Department of Licensing Hearing, which, in some cases, must be decided within 7 days of a DUI arrest.

Posting on Social Media

Saying anything publicly about your DUI is a bad idea. You may post something that will get you into trouble and hurt your case. Don’t post about it on social media or talk to your friends and family about it – instead, save it for your attorney. Your private conversations with a lawyer are protected by the “attorney-client privilege,” these other conversations and postings are not.

Pleading Guilty At Your First Hearing

You may feel like you have to plead guilty because you have no choice. This is absolutely false! If you plead guilty without your lawyer having reviewed your case and advising you, you could miss important defenses. DUI’s can be highly technical cases. It is not unusual for someone to think they have no chance in court only to learn from an experienced DUI lawyer that there is a viable defense to the charge.

Were you arrested for DUI in Olympia, Washington or surrounding area? Then, contact The Law Office of David Lousteau, PLLC for your free consultation. We fight for you and defend the rights of the accused. Visit us online or call us at (360) 493-2600 for an immediate response. We look forward to helping you with your case.

Who’s Disregarding Washington’s Distracted Driving Laws? The Answer May Surprise You

A survey of 1,160 Washington drivers conducted by AAA of Washington shows that the group of drivers most likely to disregard the law isn’t teens—but “parents with children living at home.”

According to a report on kiro7.com, the most common illegal task drivers continue to do is setting up driving directions on a cellphone app or vehicle navigation system while driving.

“Of all the drivers surveyed by AAA, 82 percent say they have done this at least once in the past 30 days. For parents with children living at home, the number grows to 87 percent,” AAA Washington said.

How Washington’s E-DUI Law Works

Although lack of staffing on the Washington State Patrol has made enforcement of the E-DUI law something of a challenge, law enforcement does have latitude and the penalties do have bite. A police officer can pull someone over just for using a handheld device. The penalty for a first-time distracted driving is the standard traffic fine of $136. That fine nearly doubles to $235 on the second distracted-driving citation.

The parameters of the law aren’t completely inflexible. Drivers may use a smartphone in their car, but only if it’s mounted in a dashboard cradle, and drivers can only hold the device in their hand if they’re pulled off the roadway or traffic lanes.

According to Washington Patrol, there’s been a 5.5 percent decrease in the number of distracted driver-involved crashes in the year since Washington state’s E-DUI law went into effect. That’s after distracted driving became the second driver-related cause of traffic fatalities in the state from 2015-2017, according to AAA Washington.

What Happens If You’re a Heathcare Professional and You Get a DUI?

Washington state law mandates that “each [medical] license holder must self report any conviction, determination, or finding that he or she has committed unprofessional conduct.” State law also defines “unprofessional conduct” as “the commission of any act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption relating to the practice of the person’s profession, whether the act constitutes a crime or not.”

What You Need To Decide

Here’s where your interpretation comes in. If you’re not certain about whether your criminal matter “relates to” your profession, you do have the choice to decide that it doesn’t and to subsequently not disclose it to the state Department of Health. But because failing to disclose this material fact to the Department may subject you to a separate track of discipline when you’re obtaining or reinstating a license, you should consider consulting an attorney before making any decision.

Even if you are ultimately convicted of your DUI/DWI charge, that charge may fall within the state’s “unprofessional conduct” standard—that is, “current misuse of alcohol [or] controlled
substances”

Caseloads and Delays in Washington’s Counties: How They May Affect You

Spokane publication The Inlander reports that the retirement of Spokane County judge Gregory Tripp, combined with efforts by the county to tighten its budgetary belt, has led to a backlog of DUI and domestic violence court cases that need to be heard. Although the district courts pledged to take up the slack, they seem to have been taken by surprise.

[Spokane district courts] didn’t foresee the kind of caseload they’ve had so far in 2018. Namely, district court has seen a staggering 28 percent increase in domestic violence case filings this year, along with a 25 percent increase in driving under the influence case filings over the same period, according to district court Judge Vance Peterson.

With regards the domestic violence side, the Inlander notes a fact that can be transferred to any county, including Thurston:

The city of Spokane [notes County Commissioner Josh Kerns] added 10 officers to the force in 2018. That could be responsible for some of the increase [in domestic violence cases being filed], with officers more easily able to respond to calls.

In short, higher staffing rates in a county’s law enforcement ranks will likely result in more domestic violence cases that need hearings. The bottom line is that if it can happen in Spokane County, it can happen in counties throughout Washington state.

What It Could Mean For Clients With DUI and Domestic Violence Charges

Counties across the nation face regular resource shortfalls. The lack of judicial reinforcements in Spokane County courts is a product of tougher Washington state law enforcement initiatives to combat the rising tides of both DUI and domestic violence incidents. Like most counties in the state, Thurston and others in the western part of the state face a rising caseload of both. If western Washington counties also (maybe inevitably) start facing resource shortfalls in their courts, both plaintiffs and defendants in DUI and domestic violence cases will likely face delays.

Lots of delays—in hearing schedules, filing procedures and all the other processes that make the state’s judicial bureaucracy tick. The wisest piece of advice to those charged with either a DUI or domestic violence: don’t delay things even further by missing filing deadlines and scheduled hearings in your case. And if necessary, get a responsible attorney on your side who can make sure to keep you on track.

An Extraordinary DUI Case & Three Lessons

What can we learn from a case where a law enforcement officer gets caught driving recklessly and dangerously under the influence of alcohol?

Turns out, more than you might think.

The Case

This past April, a former Stevens County Deputy Sheriff received a deferred sentence after driving while intoxicated through a crash scene and leading police on a high-speed chase last Thanksgiving in Flathead County, Montana.

The Flathead Beacon takes up the story:

According to court records, Hoover was driving down Montana Highway 35 in Creston on Nov. 23, 2017 when he drove through the scene of a fatal crash and struck a vehicle. A Montana Highway Patrol trooper who was helping investigate the crash got into his vehicle and started to chase Hoover […] Hoover and the trooper reached speeds upwards of 100 miles per hour.

[Hoover eventually turned] onto Sonstelie Road, where he stopped the vehicle and turned off the lights. Hoover then exited the vehicle with his hands in the air. Hoover admitted that he was looking at his phone when he approached the crash scene and never saw the vehicle he allegedly hit. Hoover took a breathalyzer test and blew a .178, twice the legal limit, according to court records.

The former officer was charged with felony criminal endangerment and misdemeanor DUI, to which he initially pleaded not guilty before later changing that plea. He was given a three-year deferred sentence for felony criminal endangerment, plus a suspended concurrent 175-day jail sentence.

Lessons We Can Learn From It

For one thing, it shows that of course anyone can get a DUI—even an off-duty law enforcement officer. But it also brings up three object lessons:

1. Keep your mobile phone out of reach when you drive so that it doesn’t distract you. Washington state distracted-driving laws are distinct from DUI, and they’re some of the strictest in the country. They disallow not just holding a personal device while you drive, but also associate an additional fine to activities like eating and drinking, applying makeup, shaving, and others if they do contribute to a traffic violation.

2. If you get into an accident, stay put—especially if you’ve had even a single drink. Don’t drive away, because you don’t need a hit-and-run on top of a DUI charge.

3. Do not submit to a breathalyzer test. Besides the obvious mistakes Deputy Hoover made, he somehow failed to remember that the test is voluntary in most states (including Montana as well as Washington) and officers can rely on it to build probable cause to arrest you.

The Law Office of David Lousteau, PLLC

The Law Office of David Lousteau, PLLC