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Assault charges filed on a minor

Auburn, WA |
Filed under: Juvenile law

My 15 year old son got into a fight with another student from his school and now (aprox.2-3 months later) the boys parents have filed assault charges on my son. The other boy threw the first punch so how can they file assault charges on my son? Wouldn't that be self defense on my sons part rather than assault? I have received some papers from the court mentioning the word diversion and having to pay a particular amount in order to keep my son from being sent to juvinile hall? How can he be sent to juvinile hall when he hasn't even been formally charged with assault, charges have only been filed by the other parent. What do I need to do in response to these charges filed on my son? What steps do I need to take for this type of thing? I am at a loss and don't understand all the legal jargon in the documents I received. Please advise.

Thank you ~
Cindy Barnes

Attorney Answers 2


Dear Ms. Barnes, You are correct that first the charges have to be proven at a hearing. Normally, the initial papers just warn you what the POSSIBLE results may be in an effort to make sure you do not ignore the notice. Diversion refers to programs (drug, alcohol, community service) that the court provides to avoid detention or incarceration. Your best bet is to hire a qualified lawyer from your area to assist you in this matter as asson as possible. If you cannot afford one, contact your county's Legal Aid Society or the court itself to receive free legal representation.

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Ms. Barnes:

A diversion is a type of disposition that enables the party to avoid going to trial and possibly obtain a dismissal if he satisfies certainconditions. In and of itself, it is not a plea of guilty. It is best described as a contract between the defendant and the prosecutor in which the prosecutor agrees to dismiss the charge if the defendant does, for instance, community service hours. If the defendant fails to do the community service, then the prosecutor will "revoke" the diversion agreement and the judge will review the police report--based only on the police report the judge might enter a finding of guilty. However, this all depends on the type of diversion that is being offered. It is not a good idea to enter such an agreement if you have not talked with an assigned or retained lawyer. To answer the first part of the question, yes, once self defense is established as a defense then the prosecutor would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your son was not acting in self defense. Good luck!

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