Seattle criminal defense attorneys are on notice that on Wednesday a bill was approved by the state House (“House Bill 1651”) that would allow the sealing of most juvenile-court records. This bill potentially helps teenage criminals move on in life, but it also potentially hinders scrutiny of one of the most closely watched sectors of government.
Under House Bill 1651, juvenile cases would technically be open to the public, but there would be essentially no record of them, and the bill would not affect cases involving the most serious violent and sexual crimes. Currently, the system is open, but criminals (juvenile or otherwise) can petition to seal court records after a set amount of time; there is, in essence, a record of the proceedings, which is the way it works in many states, although many states routinely seal juvenile records after a set period of time.
The bill now moves to the state Senate, where its ultimate fate is not certain. Many lawmakers and critics have expressed concern that the proposal would take away valuable information from employers and landlords trying to get information about job and housing applicants, and from members of the media reporting on the juvenile-justice system. Several law-enforcement groups have, in fact, opposed the bill, and many Republicans only supported the bill after more exemptions were added, the exemptions now include murder, manslaughter, rape, serious assault, arson and kidnapping.
In many instances, a qualified Seattle criminal attorney can significantly reduce the impact that a criminal charge will have on an individual’s life and profession. The right Seattle criminal lawyer will be worth his/her weight in gold when protecting a person’s rights, freedom and future. The Seattle criminal defense lawyers that make up the litigation team of SQ Attorneys are dedicated to defending those accused of committing a crime. They have the experience, knowledge and resources to successfully defend your case and to protect you from the consequences that may arise as a result of the criminal allegations. Unlike other law firms that practice in many areas of the law, SQ Attorneys is focused on criminal defense in Western Washington.
If you or a loved one is faced with a criminal charge in Western Washington, you deserve the assistance of a reputable and qualified Seattle criminal attorney who will relentlessly defend your case. You deserve a Seattle criminal defense lawyer who has an intimate understanding of Washington’s criminal laws and the legal issues that could win your case. You deserve a Seattle criminal defense attorney who is not afraid to stand up against the prosecution and aggressively fight for your rights and interests. SQ Attorneys is the right Western Washington law firm for the job. Call for a free initial consultation – (206) 441.0900 (Seattle); (425) 998-8384 (Eastside) – it will be the best decision you make all day.