Juvenile Court - Frequently Asked Questions
Read the letter CAREFULLY. It will give you either a number to call or a date and time to appear in court for your first hearing. Follow the instructions.
If you child has been arrested and brought to detention, a screening probation officer will call you and will give you the necessary information. You may ask questions at that time.
If your child has been arrested and released to you or another adult, wait to hear from the court. The prosecutor screens these cases and decides whether or not to file charges. Sometimes they do not file based on the officer's report. However, you need to wait to hear from the court. The Prosecuting Attorney's Office does not take calls from youth or their parents.
Your court order or summons. This is helpful, although not necessary.
You also may want to bring:
- Pen/pencil and paper so that you can take notes
- A folder to keep your court paperwork in
- A book to read while you wait
- Schoolwork/homework to work on while you wait
- Change for the vending machines
If possible, other than those children who need to attend court or have an appointment in the building, it is best not to bring other children when coming to Juvenile Court. Especially when coming for a court hearing, you can expect to spend time waiting and there is little for children to do while you wait. If you do bring other children with you to Juvenile Court, also bring something for them to do.
The King County Sheriff's Office provides security screening at the front door of the Youth Services Center. Do not bring weapons of any kind to the building. Also, state laws with regard to smoking and the possession of tobacco are strictly enforced.
To find out when your child's hearing is scheduled, you should contact:
- Your child's juvenile probation counselor (JPC), if your child already has a JPC; or
- Your child's attorney, if your child already has an attorney assigned to the case; or
- The Superior Court Clerk's Office at (206) 477-6770.
If you have lost your Driver's License as the result of a court ruling, please visit the appropriate Department of Licensing webpage (from the list below) to learn what to expect. These sites also include information on how to get your license back once the period of suspension is complete.
- Department of Licensing - Minor in Possession (external site)
- Department of Licensing - DUI (Driving under the Influence) (external site)
- Department of Licensing - Driver's License Penalties Following Conviction (external site)
- Superior Court - Learn how to petition the court to get your license back.
Washington is a signatory to the Interstate Compact for Juveniles. (See RCW 13.24.) A youth on supervision for a 'sex-related offense," a violent offense that "resulted in personal injury or death," or an offense "committed with a weapon" may not leave the state at all without a travel permit issued by a Juvenile Probation Counselor. In addition, no youth on supervision for any offense may leave the state for more than 48 hours without such a permit. (See Rule 5-102 of the Rules for the Interstate Compact for Juveniles.) A complete listing of all Interstate Compact Rules can be found on the Interstate Commission for Juveniles website.
Yes. A person who has been the subject of criminal charges in Juvenile Court may file a motion asking the court to seal his or her court file, if the person meets certain requirements.
If you would like to ask the court to seal your court file, please read the following materials:
- Juvenile Offender Records Sealing Procedure - forms and instructions from King County Superior Court describing the steps you must take to have your court file sealed.
- A Guide to Sealing and Destroying Court Records, Vacating Convictions, and Deleting Criminal History Records - an informational brochure from the Washington Administrative Office for the Courts.
- Sealing Juvenile Court Records in Washington State - an informational report from Washington LawHelp, a website offering free legal education materials.
You may also want to watch this HELPFUL VIDEO from the Northwest Justice Project that explains the process for sealing records.
If you would like to attend a clinic on sealing juvenile records, please review this flyer.
NOTE: Sealing a court record does not necessarily affect the records maintained by law enforcement agencies, other government offices, or private concerns. Requests concerning such records must be made directly to those organizations.
The court may order restitution payments or other fines when concluding your case. Restitution means paying victims back for their losses due to crime. If you are ordered to pay restitution or other fines, you will receive a payment packet from your Probation Counselor describing how much to pay, and when and where to send payments. The full amount must be paid, even after you turn 18.
For more information, read these Juvenile Court Payment Instructions.