Juvenile Law Attorney in Denver, Colorado
As a parent, nothing can be more unsettling and scarier than finding out that your child has been arrested on delinquency charges. It can be a challenging and emotional time for everyone in the family, and it is important to understand Colorado’s juvenile law and the defenses available to your child.
Our juvenile defense attorney at Law Offices of Malcolm B. Seawell has assisted many juveniles charged with delinquency charges in Denver, Colorado, and throughout the Denver Metro area. We understand the sensitive and serious nature of delinquency charges and are committed to fighting for the best possible resolution to protect your child’s future. We serve adults and juveniles in Denver, Aurora, Arvada, Castle Rock, Golden, Lakewood, and other parts of the Denver Metro area.
Delinquency Under Colorado Law
Colorado’s juvenile law is contained in the state’s Children’s Code. Under the law, adolescents aged 17 or younger can face charges in juvenile courts and be sentenced to juvenile detention centers for engaging in illegal activity. If the court finds that the juvenile has committed the illegal act, they are considered to have been adjudicated as a juvenile delinquent rather than convicted of the crime.
Even though Colorado law treats minors who have been adjudicated as juvenile delinquents differently compared to adults convicted of crimes, the consequences can still be serious and life-changing. Possible penalties for juvenile delinquents include incarceration and fines, not to mention that the juvenile’s record will become part of their criminal history, which may impact many areas of their life long into their adulthood.
According to the official website of the Colorado Judicial Branch, the severity of penalties for juvenile delinquents depends on their classification: mandatory sentence offender, repeat offender, violent offender, or aggravated offender.
How the Process Works
Colorado juvenile courts handle cases involving individuals under the age of 18 at the time of allegedly committing the prohibited act. By contrast, cases involving defendants aged 18 or older at the time of the alleged offense are handled by criminal courts.
Juvenile courts are mainly concerned with rehabilitating minors instead of imposing severe punishment. Criminal courts, on the other hand, focus on punishing offenders for their illegal conduct.
Arrest. After an underage individual is arrested, law enforcement will notify their parents or guardians. In some cases, an underage individual who is accused of committing a prohibited act may receive a summons instead of being arrested.
Release or detention. If the alleged offense was not severe, the minor may be released to their parents/guardians under the condition that they will attend a court date. However, when the minor is accused of a more serious illegal act, they may be held in detention while the investigation is ongoing.
Detention hearing. If the underage individual was detained, a detention hearing will be scheduled. During the hearing, a judge will have to decide if it is appropriate and necessary to continue detaining the minor. The judge may decide to release the minor on personal recognizance or bail. If this happens, the minor will be required to follow specific conditions during their release, including GPS monitoring, counseling, drug testing, and others. Violating these conditions can result in detention.
The juvenile court process also involves other steps, including attending a dispositional hearing, attending a return filing hearing, and attending an adjudicatory hearing. It is best to be represented by a juvenile defense attorney in Denver, Colorado, during these hearings to advocate for your child’s rights and work towards the best possible outcome in the case.
When a Juvenile Can Be Tried As An Adult
Sometimes, a juvenile can be tried as an adult. This can happen when there are grounds to warrant transferring the juvenile’s case to a district court, where the minor will be tried and sentenced as an adult. There are four main factors that affect whether or not the minor will be tried as an adult:
The type of prohibited act committed
The minor’s past history of delinquency
Whether the district court’s original jurisdiction is invoked by the district attorney
Thus, the risk that your child may be tried as an adult increases the older your child is, if there are prior delinquency acts on their record, and if the illegal act your child is accused of is severe. However, there is also a minimum age at which a child can be tried as an adult in Colorado. If a child is under the age of 12, they cannot be tried as an adult under no circumstances.
Juvenile Defense Attorney in Denver, Colorado
Finding out that your child got in trouble with the law can be a very difficult and emotionally-charged time for you and the rest of the family. If your child is found guilty of the alleged offense, they can face serious lifelong consequences. At this point, defending your child’s rights and future is key. If your child has been arrested on delinquency charges, contact Law Offices of Malcolm B. Seawell immediately.