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.

The Law Office of David Lousteau, PLLC

The Law Office of David Lousteau, PLLC