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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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Successful and Very Pleased

My name is Matt and I was ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years. I ended up registering for 15 because the courts make it near impossible to get off the list. I tried on my own more than once and the paperwork for one county alone is enough to discourage someone, let alone four counties. I felt hopeless.

I decided to call Wolf Law and get an estimate. I ended up meeting with Colleen Kelley and she was very helpful. Told me the price, which was very reasonable, and I paid to get started. She warned me that it can take up to a year to get a court date and she was right. For me it took nine months, but when the time came, she represented me well and I finally got off the registry.

Life is so much more comfortable now and less embarrassing. The S.O. title is one of the worst badges of shame one can wear and thanks to Colleen Kelley and Wolf Law I no longer carry that weight. I’m thrilled to feel like a normal guy again.

— Matt S.

Mr. Wolf Blew My Expectations Out of the Water

After recently facing two relatively serious traffic violations, Mr. Wolf was able to obtain an outcome for my case that far exceeded my expectations. From the initial consultation onward, Jeff was extremely professional, punctual, and confident. Jeff clearly defined our objectives and provided me with some serious peace of mind. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Mr. Wolf’s services to any family member or friend in need and couldn’t be more pleased with his representation!

— Michael

So Glad I Hired Jeff Wolf for My DUI Case

I was originally considering not hiring an attorney since this was my first DUI offense but I’m definitely glad I did. It was my first DUI but I was involved in a one-car accident and totaled my car. I started to worry about the possible consequences after reading the penalties online. I contacted Jeff’s office after reading reviews on AVVO left by other clients. From the beginning he was very straightforward regarding possible penalties and possible outcomes, and gave me the details of what he would do if I hired him.

We worked out what strategies we would use for the DMV and Court. Without going into too much detail, I have to say that I was extremely happy that I decided to hire Jeff. Immediately after hiring him I felt a lot less stress about the whole situation. He was always in contact with me every step of the process and even did things for me that I didn’t have to do myself, like my DMV hearing.

Every DUI case is different based on many different circumstances, so I can’t say that my results will be yours, however I was extremely happy with my results. He won my DMV hearing, and I didn’t lose my license and got pretty much the minimum penalties in court. Overall, I would recommend him to any family or friends who find themselves in the same situation. I have several friends who had similar situations who couldn’t believe how lucky I was to get the outcome that I did. Thank you for everything Jeff!

— Daniel G.

My Heart Was Ripped Out, Wolf Law Showed Compassion

In early March, my heart was seemingly ripped out. I was driving into town with my two children, 5 and 2, in extremely inclimate weather conditions when my car hit a patch of ice and I lost control of my vehicle. It was a horrific accident and I was the only survivor in my vehicle. As if this wasn’t the worst thing that could have ever happened, I was charged with careless driving resulting in death, two counts. I was referred to Mr. Wolf by four separate law offices, as well as the BAR Association. The District Attorney’s office attempted to raise my charges to much more serious felony charges that could have carried very harsh sentences. Mr. Wolf was able to maintain the original charges and speak compassion and mercy to the the judge, leaving me facing only community service and a short probation with minimal associated probation costs. I would recommend his services to anybody and everybody. Not only is he incredibly knowledgeable, but he is passionate about his work, while showing the utmost compassion and respect for his clients’ situation.

— Jamie

Amazing Lawyer

If you’re looking for an amazing lawyer I would highly recommend Jeff Wolf and Wolf Law in general Jeff helped me every step of the way, kept me well informed about what was going on with my case, and was very responsive to every question I had and is genuinely a good dude. I appreciated all of his help and the way he handled my case. I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a good lawyer cause he’s definitely the way to go thank you again Jeff!

— Jordan B

Very confident and competent attorney! I am very happy with Jeff

I contacted Jeff Wolf after I had some family issues that also carried potential criminal charges. I spoke with him as soon as i realized how severe the situation could be and he offered great legal advice that lead to me bringing him on as my personal attorney. The charges against me were dropped and I never had to go to trial but throughput the entire process Jeff was in touch and taking care of everything I needed. I am very happy with his services and would certainly work with him again if I was in the situation.

— Daniel E.

Jeff is a Powerhouse in the Courtroom

Jeff is truly an expert in his field. He is extremely knowledgeable and bright and it was clear throughout his management of my case that he is highly respected. He was very supportive of my desire to see my case through to trial, he was always empathetic, and he took the time to understand my personal and professional situation. He was determined to get me the best outcome with the least impact to my personal and professional life and he succeeded. We were dealing with a refusal and I have little doubt that I would not have had the same results with another attorney. Jeff is a powerhouse in the courtroom! I am beyond appreciative and would strongly recommend anyone facing challenging legal issues to seek out Jeff’s expertise.

— Jana S.

Worth every penny. Wolf Law at your side.

Wolf Law LLC is an exceptional law firm that I would recommend to all in search for legal help or advice. I had a troublesome case, it had me very worried and distraught, I had no idea what to do. I talked with Jeff in a FREE consultation, he was very knowledgeable and understanding of my situation, it had made me feel a lot more comfortable about my case and the position I was in (as if I was family). Every time there was something new about my case or even if I had questions, I felt comforted and relieved, Jeff responded very quickly.

I know not every case is the same and may not be dismissed like mine was, but with Wolf Law in your corner, I believe you have a fighting chance. Thank you again Wolf Law for fighting with me!

— B. Davis

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

Ms. Kelly was a professional rock for us!

We found ourselves in an unimaginable situation with criminal charges pressed against my husband relating to a firearm. We were both petrified. Especially with the gun climate we find ourselves in. Neither of us had ever been in trouble with the law and after a terrible accident, we found just that. Ms. Kelly is extremely professional and knowledgeable of the legal system. She took the time to explain everything to us and prepare us for what would follow.

We are happy with the outcome of the case and would highly recommend Ms. Kelly to anyone who may find themselves in our situation.

— The Taylors