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If your child is facing criminal charges in Colorado, a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can guide your family through the complex juvenile court system and may be able to help your child avoid or limit the impacts of a conviction.

The Denver defense attorneys at Wolf Law understand that juvenile criminal charges can have life-changing consequences, and we have successfully represented young clients in a wide range of criminal cases.

Please call us today at 720-479-8574 for a free case evaluation or contact us online to tell us your story now. 

Juvenile Criminal Charges in Colorado

Policeman questioning witnesses during crime investigation
In Colorado, “juvenile delinquency” applies to the criminal acts of minors between the ages of 10 and 18.

In Colorado, the term “juvenile delinquency” is used to describe the criminal acts of minors between the ages of 10 and 18.

Most criminal charges faced by minors in Colorado are processed through the state’s juvenile courts system, and potential penalties include fines, probation, detention in a youth corrections center, and jail time.

Some types of misconduct can only be classified as criminal when committed by a juvenile. These include:

  • Curfew violations
  • Truancy
  • Underage possession of alcohol, marijuana or tobacco

Certain drug-related offenses are under the jurisdiction of county courts, even if the individual charged is under 18. These include:

  • Minor in possession of alcohol or marijuana
  • Minor in possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Advertisement or sale of drug paraphernalia
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs

There are rare circumstances in which a minor may be moved from juvenile court to district court and prosecuted as an adult. In Colorado, a juvenile may be tried as an adult as young as age 12 if the charges relate to a class 1 or class 2 felony.

Colorado Juvenile Offender Categorizations

Juveniles charged with crimes in Colorado may be assigned a category that affects their sentencing and other factors, such as eligibility for the expungement of juvenile records. These designations include:

  • Mandatory Sentence Juvenile Offender: Under Colorado law, a juvenile must be sentenced if he or she has been adjudicated (the equivalent of being convicted) as a delinquent twice or if his or her probation is revoked.
  • Repeat Juvenile Offender: This designation applies to juveniles who have been previously adjudicated for a delinquent act and are subsequently adjudicated for a felony, or juveniles whose probation is revoked for a delinquent act that constitutes a felony.
  • Violent Juvenile Offender: Offenders age 13 and older may be deemed violent if they were adjudicated for a crime of violence (for example: causing bodily injury or death to another person; sexual assault; aggravated robbery; kidnapping; etc.).
  • Aggravated Juvenile Offender: Juvenile offenders who are at least 12 years old may be designated as aggravated offenders if they were adjudicated for a class 1 or class 2 felony, or if they had their probation revoked for a delinquent act that constitutes a class 1 or class 2 felony, or if they committed a violent crime.
  • Habitual Juvenile Offender: This category applies to juvenile offenders who are twice adjudicated as a juvenile delinquent for separate felony episodes.

Prior adjudications can affect a juvenile’s bail, probation eligibility, and penalty severity, and they may also be used in a request to transfer a minor from juvenile court to district court if the youth is facing class 1 or class 2 felony charges.

Penalties for Juvenile Criminal Charges

Cropped view of teenage boy in handcuffs, leaning against car.
Penalties for Colorado juvenile offenders range from fines to jail time.

Penalties for juvenile offenders in Colorado include but are not limited to:

  • Fines
  • Probation
  • Community service
  • Enrollment in a therapy or rehabilitation program
  • Placement in a juvenile detention center
  • Jail time

When it comes to juvenile delinquency, Colorado tries to emphasize rehabilitation over punishment. Colorado’s Problem Solving Court, for example, offers a non-traditional approach to criminal justice. It’s designed in part for minors who have special needs following drug addiction.

First-time juvenile offenders may be eligible for deferred prosecution via enrollment in a diversion program. Diversion programs are similar to probation and may require community service, counseling or other assignments.

Penalties are not limited to those imposed by the court. Additional consequences juvenile offenders may face include:

  • Suspension or expulsion from school
  • Loss of employment or the ability to obtain certain jobs
  • Loss of access to public benefits (such as food stamps)
  • Loss of the right to own firearms

Colorado’s Division of Youth Corrections

An unhappy teenage girl receiving a speeding ticket from a police officer.
Some juvenile charges, such as driving under the influence, fall under the jurisdiction of county courts.

Juvenile detention is administrated by Colorado’s Division of Youth Corrections (DYC) within the Department of Human Services (DHS).

Detention requires mandatory screenings and assessments to determine risk factors. Minors can be detained in a secure facility for up to 45 days while awaiting court hearings or during a court-ordered detention sentence. Minors ages 10 to 18 are eligible for detention. Between 2015 and 2016, 5,034 juvenile males and 1,476 juvenile females were detained in Colorado.

Colorado’s Youth Offender System (YOS) is a medium-security prison for violent youth offenders who commit class 3 through 6 violent felony offenses. Minors age 14 to 18 are eligible, as are adults up to age 21.

YOS offenders have been prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced as adults. Even those who complete the program bear a permanent, adult felony conviction. There were 61 admissions to YOS in 2017; nearly half were Denver youth.

Juvenile Criminal Records

Juvenile criminal records are generally well protected, but they are still accessible to some individuals and entities. Those who may be granted access to juvenile criminal records include:

  • Parents and legal guardians
  • Schools
  • Law enforcement
  • Child protective services

In some cases, juvenile criminal records may be available to the general public. It’s also important to note that the expungement of a juvenile’s criminal record is not automatic when the individual turns 18.

A request for an order of expungement must be filed in court, and some juvenile offenders—for example, those adjudicated for a violent crime—may not be eligible for criminal record expungement.

The Denver criminal defense attorneys at Wolf Law are compassionate advocates for youth who are confronted with criminal charges. To learn how we may be able to help your child, please call us at 720-479-8574 or contact us online to arrange your free consultation.

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I Was Very Well Represented by Jeff

Regarding a DV assault charge, Jeff was able to have the judge do something he stated he’d never done in any similar case: he deferred my sentence, reduced probation, reduced the amount of classes I would have to take from being many weeks on end to 2 days, and instead of requiring a no-contact order (which would have left me homeless and unable to speak to my partner via any means), he placed me on a no-contact order with alcohol… That alone was the best thing I could hear.

Without going into details of my case, this was the best possible outcome I could have been given, and I’m so happy that I was recommended to him by a fellow law professional that went to school with Jeff. I will be using him again when the time comes to put this case behind me for good, and would recommend him to anyone who needs expert defense, and wants someone to explain your case in simple, yet professional terms. I felt very well taken care of. Thank you again, Jeff!

— Laurie A.

Best Possible Outcome Thanks to Wolf Law

When I walked into the office I was at a low point I can’t describe. When I talked to Jeffrey Wolf I wanted to hear, “Don’t worry, you’re going to be fine.” Instead I was told the honest truth: I was in serious trouble, but he would fight like crazy to get me the best possible outcome. After thinking about that I realized it was far better to hear the truth rather than a lawyer trying to get my business, and in the end I got exactly what Jeff said: Good advice, an excellent professional defense, and I believe the best possible outcome I could have wanted. I highly recommend Wolf Law.

— David R.

Services with Jeff

Jeff accepted a traffic violation case with not a ton of time to prepare. He provided clear instructions on how to proceed with the initial hearing in order for this individual to receive an extension and time to gain attorney representation. From there, he continued take the extra steps necessary to not only communicate effectively and clearly but also provide a level of advocacy that was necessary for this vulnerable individual! Thanks Jeff — Your work, patience and understanding is greatly appreciated!

— Nicole Young

Complete Satisfaction

Jeff took on 2 cases for me with complete success. He is extremely sharp and confident. Jeff really gets to know his clients and is very sympathetic to their needs.
The relationships he has with prosecutors and the judges was pure respect. When he spoke he had the ears of the courtroom. He speaks very eloquent and exudes confidence that translates into the result I was looking for, “Case Dismissed.”

I highly recommend his services. If you are need of his services you will get more than what you pay for.

— Steven L.

First Rate Legal Representation

If one were to Google all the attributes that you want in legal representation, Wolf Law would check off each box. His entire staff is helpful and professional. As for Mr. Wolf himself, his expertise and straight-talk are exactly what you want and need in an attorney. The outcome of my case matched my most optimistic goal. I thoroughly endorse Wolf Law.

— Trenton

A Great Help in a Time of Turbulence

After being convicted of a DUI for marijuana, I quickly searched for an attorney. I chose to contact Wolf Law first because of the certifications and positive reviews that I saw. I am very glad that I made this choice. This was my first time in trouble with the law, so I didn’t quite know how to handle the situation, but with just a few meetings, phone calls, and emails I felt confident towards the resolution of my issues. Jeff explained everything thoroughly and made sure I knew everything I needed to know and more. I personally needed only a few meetings and talks, but I know that Jeff would be glad to meet or talk as much as necessary. He is clearly very passionate about his work and is a well of legal knowledge. I began with several charges and seeing an overwhelmingly bad outcome in my future, but as Jeff and Wolf Law fought for me, the charges faded away until only one remained and even it was reduced. I left with what I view as the best possible outcome for my given situation. Wolf Law not only helped mitigate the consequences of my mistake, but also granted me great comfort and guidance through the whole experience.

— Bryan C.

Colleen Kelley and Wolf Law

In the past few years I have had the unfortunate circumstance of needing a criminal defense attorney. I cannot overstate how fortunate I was to have chosen Colleen Kelley. I can honestly say that without Colleen on my side that I would have been sentenced to significantly more time and more serious charges than were warranted in my situation.

Colleen is undoubtedly a major reason as to why I am free today and able to move on with rebuilding my life. I would without hesitation recommend Colleen to anyone who needs a criminal defense attorney.

— Matthew M.

Much Appreciation!

After a misread medical record, I was wrongly accused of a serious crime. Even though doctors admitted that the nurse misstated the severity of an injury, law enforcement tried to destroy my life. Law enforcement threatened to take away my wife, my kids and my life. I called around to a couple of attorneys, and no one offered the type of first-class customer service that Jeff provided. He was immediately available. Throughout the process, Jeff was there to guide and protect me. He was always available. And, after a long journey together, we found justice and freedom. During the process, I found Jeff to be intelligent, determined and highly personable. I strongly recommend Jeff!

— Anonymous

I Recommend Jeff Wolf to Anyone Needing Legal Defense

I retained the services of Jeff Wolf after I received a DUI. During the free consultation, Jeff reviewed his services and the details of what would happen before, during and after my trial. He was very thorough, supportive and diligent in ensuring all my questions were answered. I am thrilled with the level of service he provided for an extremely reasonable fee. Jeff was accessible and reassuring throughout this entire process. The end-result of my hearing was exactly what I had expected based on Jeff’s counseling. This is a direct result of his knowledge and experience with the court and the system. I was very impressed with his closing presentation in court and his professionalism and felt that the judge reduced my fines and my sentence because of Jeff’s efforts. I have already recommended him to two other people and will continue to recommend him to anyone requiring the services of a defense attorney.

— Monty

Professional, Passionate and Knowledgeable

This was my first experience with the law, and Jeffrey Wolf did a fantastic job of guiding me and my family through this. He was always available to answer any concerns I had, realistic in terms of what we were looking at, and passionate about getting us through this. He truly took my case to heart and was a lifesaver through a trying time. Thanks to him, I still have a chance to succeed in my career and lead a normal life!

— Tyler C.