Colorado Juvenile Crime Attorney
In the criminal justice system, children and teenagers are not treated the same as adults. While the adult justice system focuses on punishment, the juvenile justice system focuses on treatment and rehabilitation. That being said, there are still very serious consequences arising from juvenile charges, including the potential of juvenile detention. If your child is facing criminal charges in Colorado, you need to contact an experienced Denver criminal attorney who understands the juvenile justice system and can defend the rights of the minor.
It is possible for the State to file charges against a juvenile in district court. This is known as the direct file system, which allows prosecutors to try juveniles who are 16 or 17 years old as adults. This usually happens in situations where the juvenile is accused of committing a violent crime. Felonies that make a 16 or 17 year old eligible for a direct file are any class 1 or 2 felony, any violent sexual assault, any felony defined as a crime of violence, or sexual assault on a child. The juvenile must also have had at least one prior felony offense on his or her record to be eligible for a direct file. A preliminary hearing will be held to determine if there is probable cause for an offense eligible for direct file. If the Court does not find probable cause for direct file, the case will be sent back to the juvenile court.
The punishments a convicted juvenile will face vary widely, depending on the circumstances of the offense as well as any prior criminal history. Penalties can include high fines, community service, probation, or time in juvenile detention. If your child is charged and convicted as an adult, he or she could be sentenced to prison time. Additionally, the Court may decide the child needs to be placed with social services, placed in a hospital, or order the child to complete an appropriate treatment program, such as anger management.