Offender cases are those cases where a juvenile is accused of committing an offense. An offense is behavior that is a crime if done by an adult. Offenses may be misdemeanors (least serious), gross misdemeanors, or felonies (most serious). Based on reports provided by the law enforcement agency looking into the case, the Prosecuting Attorney's Office may recommend an offender case for "Diversion" or may file an "Information" accusing a youth of committing an offense. If an information is filed, the juvenile must go to court.
Juvenile Court also handles traffic and civil infractions if the juvenile charged with the infraction is less than 16 years old. Infractions are not offenses. An example of a traffic infraction is speeding. An example of a civil infraction is underage smoking.
Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Chapter 13.40 is the law that covers juvenile offender actions. The court maintains some Juvenile Offender Court Forms online. The Juvenile Offender Manual describes current procedures in juvenile offender cases.
How Can You Learn About the Juvenile Offender Process?
Here are some ways you can learn about Juvenile Court and the Juvenile Court process for offender cases:
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