You want to give your child the autonomy they need to learn how to make good decisions on their own. You reason that if they are going to make mistakes, it is better for them to make them when they are young. When the consequences are less severe and they have more time to recover from them.
Generally speaking, this is good parenting. Adolescents and teens need a bit of freedom to figure out who they are, what they want from life, and simply to have the ability to operate on their own as human beings rather than being constantly dependent on you.
Sometimes, though, kids make mistakes where the consequences are too severe to let them suffer. Being charged as a juvenile is not a learning experience – it is something that can utterly derail the life they are working to build, making it harder to do things like get into college, find a good job, or even finish high school.
If you find yourself dealing with the horror of having your child accused of a crime, you need to act quickly if you want to protect their future and minimize any damage that might be done.
At WeedenLaw, we have successfully represented juvenile defendants across Colorado, and our lawyers understand what it takes to work toward resolutions that will not jeopardize the long life they have ahead of them. Special skills and sensitivity are critical in these types of cases, and we strive to work both with the defendants themselves as well as their families.
Jeff Weeden Is Well-versed in How Juvenile Law Cases Work in Colorado
If your child is over the age of 10 but under 18 and they are accused of committing an illegal act, they will most likely have their case handled by the Colorado juvenile justice system. One of the most important things you can do to protect your kid while going through this is to learn about the process. There are a number of common steps that most cases include.
Custody. When an officer notices a minor engaging in illegal activity, the first step is to take them into custody.
Notice. Once the child is in custody, a notice will be sent to their parent or guardian.
Release or mandatory hold. For most types of illegal acts, the minor will be released to their parent or guardian at this point. However, if the act in question involved violence or weapons, it is mandatory for them to be held by law enforcement.
Screening. If the minor is not released, the next step is for them to undergo a screening using detention criteria. Based on the results of this screening, there are a number of options for what may happen next. They may be released to Services, or to their parent or guardian. Alternatively, they could be sent to a shelter, a staff secure facility, a temporary holding facility, or detention.
Detention and shelter hearing. Any minors not released to their parent or guardian will then need to go through a detention and shelter hearing within 48 hours of being taken into custody. Based on the results of this hearing, they will then be released to their parent or guardian, released to Services, bail will be set, or they will stay in a secure facility or shelter.
DA investigation. At this point, the DA will look at the case. If he or she determines that the minor should receive diversion or informal adjustment, they will receive those consequences and that is the end. However, if the DA files a petition or files in district court, the case continues.
Adjudication. This is the part that will involve the actual court trial, if necessary.
If there is a direct filing to district court, it means that the minor is going to be sentenced as an adult. Obviously, this is one of the biggest things you want to try to avoid.
If there is a filing of petition, the case will continue in juvenile court with hearings, investigations, pleas, and so on. In juvenile cases, there must be an adjudicatory trial within 60 days if the case has not been resolved before then.
If the minor is found not guilty, that is the end of the case. If, however, he or she pleas or is found guilty, this can lead to either deferred adjudication or adjudication – essentially, they will either be sentenced or have that sentence deferred.
Sentencing. Before sentencing, there will be a presentence investigation to help determine the actual sentence, followed by a sentencing hearing that must occur within 45 days of the adjudicatory trial.
Common Juvenile Crimes WeedenLaw Can Help You Fight Against
There are all kinds of ways that adolescents and teens can find themselves on the wrong side of the law, and in our years defending their rights, we have seen just about everything. Some of the cases that most frequently arrive in our office include:
In addition to these, one of the issues we tend to see a lot involves age-of-consent laws.
C.R.S. 18-3-402(1) states that: “Any actor who knowingly inflicts sexual intrusion or sexual penetration on a victim commits sexual assault if: … (d) At the time of the commission of the act, the victim is less than fifteen years of age and the actor is at least four years older than the victim and is not the spouse of the victim; or (e) At the time of the commission of the act, the victim is at least fifteen years of age but less than seventeen years of age and the actor is at least ten years older than the victim and is not the spouse of the victim …”
The layman’s version of this is that Colorado’s age of consent (regardless of the sex of either party) is 17, but there are exceptions. Minors aged 15 and 16 are legally allowed to engage in consensual sex with those less than 10 years older, and those younger than 15 may engage in consensual sex provided their partner is less than four years older. (It is important to note, though, that these exceptions do not apply if the older party is in a position of trust over the person under the age of 18. C.R.S. 18-3-405.3.)
Jeff Weeden has written additional age of consent information that we invite you to read if you have further questions.
Help Your Child Reach Their Full Potential – Contact WeedenLaw to Battle Their Juvenile Charge
The state of Colorado says that their goal in juvenile justice cases is to help rehabilitate youthful offenders rather than punishing them.
That sounds nice, but if you want to make sure that your child has the best chance at a happy, successful life after being accused, you owe it to them to put together the strongest defense possible. Jeff Weeden can help you do this – after you get in touch.
All it takes to set up a free initial consultation is to fill out our online case review form, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (720) 310-2141.