Overview of juvenile crimes
When children are arrested in Castle Rock, Douglas County or anywhere in Colorado for a criminal offense, they face a different array of penalties and procedures than adult offenders. The reasoning behind this is easy to understand. Children make mistakes. They are impressionable and easily swayed by their peers. They are also inexperienced in life and in decision-making, and therefore, frequently commit errors in judgment. Moreover, teenagers are sometimes in the wrong place at the wrong time and find themselves easily swept up in an arrest, even if they personally did not commit a crime. For all of these reasons, it is vital that you secure legal representation for your detained child before he or she speaks with criminal investigators. Our criminal defense attorneys are experienced in handling juvenile cases.
While youthful offenders do not typically face the harsh penalties adult offenders encounter, there is still a lot at stake for your arrested son or daughter. Fortunately, the focus is on rehabilitation rather than punishment in processing young offenders. Still serious consequences can result. Even if a child’s case stays in juvenile court, it can result in substantial fines, confinement, and – depending on the seriousness of the offense and whether or not your child is a repeat offender – even commitment to the Department of Human Services, Division of Youth Corrections.
Juvenile sex crimes
Sex crimes, in particular, can lead to a child having to register as a sex offender, an obligation that can continue long after they leave the juvenile court system. Some drug offenses can result in loss of access to certain college loans and grants, and a loss of driving privileges. Additionally, a juvenile record can limit a child’s career options.
Penalties and jail time
The Colorado Juvenile Justice System has jurisdiction over juvenile offenders from the age of 10 to 18. At age 18, under Colorado law, a person is considered an adult. Under certain circumstances, a person under the age of 18 can be charged as an adult.
One thing to bear in mind, any convicted Colorado juvenile offender can face:
- probation and assignment to a supervised work program
- commitment to a Community Accountability Program
- out of home placement
- commitment to the Division of Youth Corrections
Parents of offending juveniles also bear some accountability in the Colorado Juvenile Justice System. The state considers you responsible for your child’s action. For this reason, it is possible for you to face:
- community service with your offending juvenile
- required attendance at a parental responsibility program
- service to the victim that will help rehabilitate your child
- temporary loss of custody of your child
- payment for cost of your child’s care
In addition, outside the juvenile justice system, a parent may be held liable for damages to the victim in a separate civil court action. These cases often turn on knowledge of the child’s behavior, or similar behavior in the past.
According to Colorado statute, there are several “special offender” classifications for juvenile offenders which enhance the severity of punishment. Special offenders under Colorado law include:
- Mandatory sentence offenders
- Repeat juvenile offenders
- Violent juveniles
- Aggravated juvenile offenders
Our Colorado juvenile defense attorneys can help
Clearly, if your child is facing charges as a juvenile delinquent, you need skilled legal representation, the kind available to you from our experienced juvenile defense attorneys in Castle Rock, Colorado. If you or your child needs legal counsel in Castle Rock or the surrounding area call 303-688-0944 for immediate assistance. We are experienced in defending against the strategies law enforcement and prosecutors use to secure a conviction in a Colorado juvenile court.
In addition, you can also call upon us for help in having a juvenile record expunged so it cannot follow your child through adult life. Handled correctly, your child’s record of youthful offenses can be suppressed, except for use by judges and probation departments in future juvenile or adult sentencing.
If your child has been arrested for a crime, your best move is to call us immediately at 303-688-0944 to mitigate the situation and work on your family’s behalf.