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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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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.

Wolf Law Office Amazing team!!!

I had been referred to Jeff from a family member and sure glad I was. Jeff takes his time to make sure I was aware of what is going on. Very kind and professional, great at what he does on helping people. Thank you Jeff for all your hard work.

Also thank you to Cassandra for also handling the DMV side I can’t tank you enough for helping me with that also.

— Jordan M.

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.

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

DUI Charge Reduced to Reckless Driving

I approached Mr. Wolf due to a first-time DUI charge. He was extremely knowledgeable and professional throughout every step of the legal process. As a result of his diligence in court, the charges against me were reduced to reckless driving. I would recommend Mr. Wolf’s services to my friends and family.

— Gina

A Great Lawyer

Colleen was a great lawyer and made everything easily understandable.

— Juan

The best lawyer you could ever hire !!!

Jeffrey Wolf is the best lawyer you could ever hire. He most definitely went way above and beyond the call of duty for me and my case. I’m sure that some of you have hired other lawyers in the past and it seemed like they drug their heels, and wouldn’t return calls, which made you feel that they didn’t care about you.

As far as I’m concerned that will never happen to you if you hire Jeffrey Wolf. He treated me like I was either his best friend or a member of his family, that’s how I felt dealing with him. I honestly looked forward to his calls. He seems like a super cool/good guy. If I lived in Colorado I would be honored to even hang out sometime, maybe shoot some pool, go bowling, ect just have fun. But the most important thing as far as business goes he got an amazing result for me in the case he represented me for. If yall don’t hire Jeffrey as your attorney then you’re making a HUGE mistake that you will probably regret the rest of your life. Again tyvvvvvvvm Jeffrey Wolf for taking care of me. You are the best.

— Francis White

APPRECIATION

I would like to place on record the immense appreciation for Ms Colleen Kelly, Partner at Wolf Law LCC. I had an opportunity as a Solicitor to interact with her on behalf of one of my clients in a DV Matter. Her professionalism and knowledge of law is absolutely outstanding. She is extremely honest and straightforward in her legal advice. She always keeps the interest of the client a priority and safe guards the interest of the client at all times. She is an asset to the legal team and adds value with her expertise and knowledge.

— Nirvikar Singh, Advocate Supreme Court of India

The Best Lawyer I’ve Ever Come Across

I got my first DUI in April when I fell asleep in my car because I couldn’t get inside my house. I knew I needed a lawyer to help me fight the case but I was really hesitant on who I wanted to hire. I came across Jeffrey Wolf and I couldn’t be any happier that I chose him to represent me. Jeffrey is not only very professional but he can also relate to you on a personal level. Since it was my first offense I had no idea what to expect or what I was doing. He guided me through the whole process and I was very pleased with the results. He was able to convince the Judge to let me off with 6 months of unsupervised probation and level 1 education classes. Jeffrey is very loyal and a wonderful lawyer, definitely hiring him again if need be.

— Anonymous

Great Law Firm

Jeff Wolf and Cassandra Monahan were wonderful to work with. Very professional and thorough.

— Laura A.