Our Juvenile Justice System
When Children And Teens Are Charged With Crimes
As parents, we understand that children and kids make mistakes and learn from them. Regrettably, Colorado police and the juvenile criminal justice system do not always follow that belief. In many cases in Aurora, Lakewood and Arvada, our government follows a one-strike and you’re out philosophy, as they attach long-term labels on our kids and make it nearly impossible to put a one-time mistake behind them. Our Denver attorneys know how to limit the impact of your child’s mistake, and set them up for an even chance at success as adults following their involvement in the Colorado juvenile justice system.
Juvenile Adjudication Vs. Criminal Conviction
Fortunately, Colorado juvenile crimes are better classified than adult crimes for similar criminal conduct. For example, juvenile criminal offenses in Douglas, Jefferson and Arapahoe County are prosecuted as delinquency matters in juvenile court, before a juvenile judge or magistrate. This is where the term “Juvenile Delinquent” comes from. If your child receives a guilty verdict, they can receive a juvenile adjudication rather than the more detrimental criminal conviction. Unless there is a direct file in district court for very serious sex and life-threatening injury cases, your child will have a chance to eventually expunge or seal their criminal case.
More Advantages For Your Child’s Juvenile Crime Case
Other benefits of a juvenile case filing classification include earlier sealing or expungement opportunity, less restrictive incarceration (juvenile detention facility vs. county jail), and less likely that the Colorado Bureau of Investigation “CBI” will publish a juvenile’s arrest or conviction record. Of course, there are more serious juvenile cases in Adams, Denver and Weld County where out of home placement in a county juvenile detention facility or the Colorado Department of Youth Corrections (prison) are possible. More serious situations where juvenile incarceration may occur are when a teenager is classified as a:
- Mandatory Sentence Offender
- Repeat Juvenile Offender
- Violent Offender
- Aggravated Juvenile Offender
What is “Direct File” Or “Direct Filing” In The Juvenile Criminal Court Context?
Direct file is the term given the process which district attorneys in Adams, Jefferson and Douglas County use to charge kids as adults in more serious cases. Until 2012, this process was used more frequently. Now, thanks to a Colorado legislative bill signed by the governor, prosecutors cannot direct file on most children until they are at least sixteen years old. To be subject to a direct file at a younger age, the child must be accused of a violent, sexual, kidnapping, or homicide case. Also, children are now able to appeal the prosecutor’s decision of a direct filing to the district court judge. If successfully prosecuted as an adult for juvenile criminal conduct, once a child turns eighteen, the child can be transferred to an adult prison serving an adult sentence. Direct filing is reserved for Colorado’s most serious offenses where the elected district attorney feels a child deserves more punishment than typically authorized by Colorado juvenile law.
Colorado Juvenile Crime Lawyer
Only a Colorado juvenile crime attorney practicing law in El Paso and Larimer County has the unique knowledge of rules and procedures governing juvenile court. Here, special strategies are employed to lessen the severity of your child’s mistake. We know that all teenagers are not created the same. They each have unique skill sets, limitations and life expectancy. No one should give up on them and their future. With the help of our expert witness team, we utilize innovative strategies involving your child’s mental health, physical limitations, and learning deficits. Our defense counselors, therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists all play a role in defining your child to a prosecutor, judge or jury.
Juvenile Court Is Unique
Fortunately, many Colorado magistrates and judges hear us when we detail your child’s unique circumstances. Whether it is a false allegation or an exaggerated allegation against your child, we can work with a Deputy District Attorney to understand your child’s case following their arrest – the whole case. Your child deserves fair treatment with their criminal case, whether it be a dismissal, the diversion program, a deferred judgment, or a deferred prosecution. When your child’s life and future are on the line, don’t rely on an overworked Public Defender to get the job done right. Choose a juvenile defense attorney equipped to represent your child’s case fully. Jail, prison, juvenile detention and a detention facility can have a negative impact on your developing child. Children should not be kept in custody any longer than legally required.
Colorado Juvenile Detention Facilities
Juvenile detention centers are located across Colorado. They are run by local county agencies and by the Department of Human Services. Here are just a few where our juvenile lawyers visit kids charged with crimes:
- Mountview Youth Services Center Detention Facility
- Gilliam Youth Services Center Detention Facility
- Adams Youth Services Center
- Pueblo Youth Services Center
- Foote Youth Services Center Detention Facility
- Platte Valley Youth Services Center Detention Facility
- Grand Mesa Youth Services Center Detention Facility
- Spring Creek Youth Services Center Detention Facility
- Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center Detention Facility
- Zeb Pike Youth Services Center Detention Facility
- Ridge View Youth Services Center Detention Facility
- Marler Youth Services Center Detention Facility
- Denier Youth Services Center Detention Facility
Your Decision Today Affects Your Child’s Future
Our juvenile court trial lawyers are at your disposal. We understand the juvenile justice system well. For over 25 years, we have developed juvenile defense strategies to limit the harm a child’s youthful mistakes may cause. Young people are still learning good judgment and should be given a second chance. If your child is charged with a crime or contacted by police, be smart and exercise your child’s right to remain silent. Then, call us at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your child’s future.