Everyone makes youthful mistakes, but some mistakes have more serious consequences than others. If your child has been arrested for a crime, you may be worried about the impact that their mistake could have on their future.
Most kids who end up in the Colorado court system for juvenile crimes are good kids that have made a bad choice or two. Colorado understands this, and allows kids to be given a second chance before they are strictly punished.
In this post, we’ll go over what happens after a juvenile in Colorado is arrested, and what options parents have for giving their child the best future after a mistake.
If a Child Is Released to Their Parents
After an arrest, peace officers will have to follow Colorado’s policies on how and where to detain the child. There are many steps that allow for officers to return the child to their parents. If the crime is especially violent or involves weapons, however, there is a mandatory holding process.
However, let’s say your child is back in your arms. At this point, the case filing begins and you have the chance to reach out to a lawyer for help. If you are worried that your child may be tried as an adult for their alleged crimes, reaching out to a good lawyer is crucial.
Your child may be recommended to a diversion program, a petition may be filed against them with criminal charges, or they could be recommended to district court as an adult. The factors that determine this action include:
- The child’s age (a child must be over the age of 12 to be tried as an adult, but usually only juveniles in their late teens are tried as adults)
- The crime (violent crimes, crimes involving deadly weapons, etc.)
- The child’s record (a child with a long record is more likely to be tried as an adult)
A preliminary hearing will begin if the child is recommended for juvenile court.
Pleas and Problem-Solving Courts
Once the preliminary hearing takes place, your child will have to plead “guilty” or “not guilty.” Before this happens, you should know about Colorado’s Problem Solving Courts.
Problem Solving Courts are alternatives to criminal courts that look for non-criminal solutions to the mistakes made by children. These solutions are typically alternatives to detention: therapy, mental health evaluations, housing support, etc.
Youth in the following areas can access any of the following problem-solving courts:
- Cañon City (for drug-related offenses)
- Denver (for drug-related offenses)
- Fort Collins (for drug-related offenses)
- Brighton (for mental health solutions)
- Golden (for mental health issues)
Juveniles can enter the problem-solving court system at two different points after they have been charged with a crime: before they enter a plea, or after.
If you want to find a nontraditional approach to your child’s mistake through problem-solving courts, and your child has not entered a plea, talk to your lawyer. Entering a problem-solving court after a plea requires the child to have made a plea deal with the prosecutor. In this case, they will have to plead guilty, but will be recommended for solutions outside of detention.
Want to Learn More about Juvenile Justice in Colorado?
Every child is unique, and every case is also unique. If you have questions about what is on the horizon for your child, reach out to a skilled Colorado lawyer with experience handling juvenile cases.
About the Author:
Since 2005, Jeffrey L. Weeden has been practicing criminal defense law in Colorado and has helped countless clients protect their rights and freedoms as a respected, caring, hard-nosed criminal defense attorney. Over the course of his career, Mr. Weeden’s work has been recognized in numerous ways, including being named to the Top 100 Trial Lawyers list by The National Trial Lawyers, earning a 10.0 “Suberb” Avvo rating, receiving Martindale-Hubbard’s highest peer review rating — AV Preeminent, and being asked to speak on several issues of interest to the legal community. Additionally, he is someone who cares deeply about his community and those in need, and is an active member of a number of professional legal organizations, including the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center and Law Firm Pro Bono Coordinators.