State law sets out a justice system for minors that differs from the adult criminal justice system. Instead of doling out punishment to deter individuals from committing future crimes, the juvenile justice system exists to rehabilitate.
Despite the goal of rehabilitation, minors can face substantial consequences after an arrest. The punishments they may face following a conviction can follow them into adulthood. If your child is facing a delinquency hearing, a dedicated defense attorney at Berry Law: Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Lawyers can help. With the right approach, a Bellevue juvenile defense lawyer can help you and your family fight for a favorable outcome in your child’s case.
The Rights of Juvenile Defendants in Bellevue
Juvenile defendants have certain rights under state and federal law. However, these rights are different from those that protect adults in the criminal justice system. For example, minors do not have the right to a jury trial when facing a delinquency hearing.
The rights that juveniles do enjoy are important. Minor defendants are entitled to know the charges filed against them. Additionally, they have the right to an attorney.
During juvenile delinquency hearings, defendants may face and cross-examine the witnesses against them. They may also present evidence in their defense. Like the adult justice system, juveniles have the right to testify on their own behalf. However, they are not required to do so.
It is crucial that you understand the rights and protections that your child has when facing criminal charges, as it can shape the way you approach the case. An experienced defense lawyer can advise you on navigating the juvenile justice system following your child’s arrest in Bellevue.
Understanding the Juvenile Court Process
The juvenile court process differs from the adult system. These differences begin immediately upon arrest.
Arrests and Detention for Minor Children
In many cases, the police will release juveniles into their parents’ custody following an arrest. Only in serious situations where the police believe sending a child home could endanger them will the police detain a minor.
When the police detain a child, they must file a petition with the court within 48 hours. Juveniles are entitled to a hearing to determine if detention is necessary. At this hearing, the minor child and his or her defense attorney have the right to present evidence to prove detention is not needed.
Pleading at the Arraignment
Whether or not law enforcement detains the juvenile defendant, the next step in the legal process is the arraignment. This initial hearing provides minor children with a chance to admit to or deny the charges against them.
Next is the pretrial hearing. This hearing allows both sides to take up motions, outline scheduling issues, and determine if a trial will become necessary. In some cases, both sides will resolve the matter at this hearing.
Adjudication and Disposition
If the two parties do not resolve the issue during the pretrial hearing, the case will go to trial. In the juvenile system, this is called adjudication. Both the state and the defense present their evidence, and the court makes a ruling.
If the court determines that the allegations against the child are true, the final step is known as disposition. At disposition, the court determines what form of rehabilitation or services the juvenile requires.
Talk to a Bellevue Juvenile Defense Attorney Today
Juveniles can face real consequences following an arrest. Depending on the outcome of the adjudication, a child could face penalties that have a long-term impact.
It would be unwise to let your child face the justice system alone. Call Berry Law: Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Lawyers today to schedule a confidential consultation with a Bellevue juvenile defense lawyer and discuss your options.