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Photo Of Kyle B. Sawyer

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Colorado Teen Court – Questions And Answers

Teen Court In Colorado

What Is Teen Court? C.R.S. 19-2-1101

A program established by a supervising court (such as the juvenile court for the city and county of Denver or the district courts of the state like those in Arapahoe, Adams, Jefferson, Douglas, Larimer and Weld counties or any municipal court that chooses to establish such a program under Part 11 of the Children’s Code) where a teen defendant, charged with a minor offense and as a condition of a deferred judgment, is ordered to participate in a sentencing hearing. The teen court has a teen prosecutor and jury, as well as a teen defense attorney if one is elected by the teen defendant. It is presided over by a volunteer who is licensed to practice law in Colorado, and under the supervision of the chief judge of the supervising court.

Who Is Eligible To Participate? C.R.S. 19-2-1103

Different jurisdictions have established their own procedures for the establishment and operation of teen court programs. A person, over the age of 12 and under the age of 19 who is enrolled in school and who is charged with a minor offense may request a teen court sentencing hearing. He or she, in the presence of his or her parents or legal guardian, must plead guilty to the minor offense. Not all jurisdictions have a teen court program. Some of the jurisdictions in Colorado that have teen courts are Colorado Springs, Parker, Arvada, Brighton and Castle Rock.

What Is Meant By A ‘Minor Offense?’ C.R.S. 19-2-1102

A “minor offense” means any offense that is considered a misdemeanor under title 18, C.R.S., or any violation of a municipal ordinance where the maximum penalty authorized does not exceed imprisonment for more than six months. These offenses include but are not limited to: assault, criminal mischief, fighting, disorderly conduct, harassment, loitering, property damage, vandalism, shoplifting, theft and trespassing.

What Is The Benefit To A Teen Defendant’s Participation In Teen Court And Receiving A Deferred Judgment? C.R.S. 19-2-1103

There is only a benefit to the teen defendant if he or she is successful in completing the requirements of teen court. Once a teen defendant is granted participation in teen court, all further proceedings are suspended in the supervisory court. If the teen defendant successfully completes the requirements of teen court, the supervisory court will dismiss all charges against the teen, and the dismissal shall not constitute a conviction for any purpose.

What Kinds Of Sentences Can The Teen Court Impose? C.R.S. 19-2-1104(d)

The teen court may impose community service, participation in law-related education classes, counseling, treatment or other programs; or participation as a juror or other teen court member in proceedings involving teen defendants.

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