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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 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

My Son Was in Trouble, Jeff Wolf was His Advocate

When my son got in trouble, I was referred to Jeff Wolf by a friend. He was immediately responsive, calling me back within an hour. We set up a meeting for a couple of days later with no obligation, and when we met he helped us understand the many aspects of my son’s case. We retained him and were grateful for his obvious comfort with the legal system and ability to help us navigate it. Throughout, he advocated for my son but also was stern with him, very clearly communicating the severity of his situation. We ended up with a deferred sentence and are so glad we had Mr. Wolf’s help. He is very reliable and accessible; it was reassuring to know we had him in our court.

— Lisa

Winning the Case

Colleen Kelley came through for me when I thought all else was lost. Colleen worked diligently and kept up the fight; she was able to get the job done, and I’m so appreciative for her work.

— Randy J.

Expedient, Thorough and Effective

Fortunately, I don’t find myself needing legal representation often…only once before have I needed an attorney. My situation was interesting…I was given a disorderly conduct summons and felt it was far beyond the pale in terms of its validity. I didn’t want this on my record and needed help navigating the legal process. I did some research on a few attorneys and read about Jeff Wolf’s practice. I called Jeff and we spoke the same day. He listened to me and I met with him a few days later. He took the time to explain his process and approach, which made sense to me and seemed to be in the right dollar range for what we were dealing with. Thankfully, my case was dismissed. Jeff took the time to show the DA that there were inconsistencies all over the place and that there was no way I was guilty…likely shouldn’t have even been issued a summons. As I said to Jeff, I hope I never have to talk with him again, but I won’t hesitate to call if need be.

— Christian

I Was Lucky to Have Jeff Represent Me

After a referral from a friend, I was lucky enough to have Jeff represent me in a domestic violence case. I found Jeff to be extremely professional and experienced in his field. This being my first experience with the court system, he took the time to explain the process and my options in terms I could understand. I never felt like he was forcing me to take one option over another, he clearly explained each one and, while giving his recommendation, left it up to me as to which decision I felt would be the best for me and my family.

I am very pleased with the outcome of my case and would highly recommend Jeff to anyone in this situation.

— Melissa

I Had a Great Outcome in My Case

Jeff Wolf was recommended to me by a colleague I have known since my youth. Accordingly, I met with Jeff. I also met with other attorneys in the Denver area in preparation for my legal issues. I decided to choose Jeff because I had a good feeling about him from the moment I met him and because his ethics and views regarding the vision for his legal practice were aligned with what I hoped for despite having no experience in the legal system previously.

This decision turned out to be one of the the best I have made in my life…literally. I cannot adequately express here how much Jeff’s hard work, determination, knowledge, professionalism, experience, and clear understanding of what I am certain he has a passion for (helping others beyond just being an attorney and defending clients in court) has meant for me. I think he has exceptional skills. I had a great outcome in my case due to the defense Jeff provided in court.

More importantly however, Jeff helped me manage the emotional and professional stress I felt. Jeff reassured me when I most needed reassurance, and ultimately, transform a situation I initially felt was a life changing event into a learning experience that I was able to navigate successfully through his precise and comprehensive guidance. I would recommend Jeff to any member of my family and certainly to anyone to whom his services would apply.

— C. Jackson

I Trust My Future with Jeffery A. Wolf

My experience was very hard like many others facing any criminal charges against them. Jeffery A. Wolf was a very compassionate, caring individual that was there to help me through the entire court process. He is very knowledgeable about criminal law and was very helpful, getting my family and me through the whole criminal process. He fought for me in a time I needed someone the most, ensuring me that he was there for me and out to get the best results as possible from the court system. What an outstanding man to fight for the truth and be there for anyone with criminal charges, explaining the whole process very methodically and being pin point with all the facts. I was very confident in his experiences and knowledge that I would only trust my future with Jeffery A. Wolf. I had a great experience with him, allowing me to have the life I am here to live.

— Adam B.

A Man of Passionate Action!

Colorado Law had recently passed a law, that would help me in the messy situation I was in. I knew immediately I had to find a lawyer to discuss the situation and the circumstances surrounding the process, and eligibility requirements for my specific case. I have to admit, I was very nervous reaching out to any lawyers who could help me.

So I did my research to the best of my ability, and having questions to ask to confirm I was making the right choice in a lawyer. A friend of mine who had previously worked with Mr. Wolf, had strongly recommended that I contact him. I am very grateful that I had! He was very respectful, and had a obvious passion to help me, asking specific questions surrounding my situation so that we can both deal with the issue at hand. Talking me through the processes and possible outcomes, straight forward. No sugar coating, which is nice because I value honesty.

Throughout the whole process, I was comfortable, and very trusting, as questions were answered accurately and after I tried contacting him with new questions or comments, he would return my call or email within 24 Hours! That showed me that he cared and was on top of his workload.

Nonetheless, the outcome of my case worked really well for me, and was a success. And for that, I want to show my gratitude.

Thank You Mr. Wolf for being on my side! I strongly recommend to anyone looking for a well competent lawyer, to contact Jeffrey Wolf at Wolf Law!

— Erwin H.

Incredible Defense with the Perfect Outcome

When I was arrested at a concert hall for trespassing and placed in a detox center it didn’t feel right. I had confronted the police in order to find out why they where arresting somebody I knew and within seconds of my questioning I was in cuffs and associated with a crime that I seemingly had nothing to do with.

When I was released from detox I thought it was over but then I understood that I had to appear in court and my previously clean record was facing the documentation of a criminal charge. I wanted to try to keep my record clean and with some help I hired Wolf Law.

Given the relative simplicity of my case I only had to meet at the office of Jeffrey Wolf a handful of times. From the first visit I could tell that Jeffery was very professional and very serious. As more of my case was revealed and in consecutive meetings I could tell that Jeffery was building a strong defense.

While he couldn’t promise me any certain outcome his resolve to defend me as strongly as he possibly could was obvious. On my first court date, before much of the details of my case where known, I was accompanied by Jeffrey Wolf’s associate lawyer Colleen Kelley. Colleen defended me with a skillful amount of experience and made it possible for Wolf Law and me to buy more time and obtain the legal information required to build a defense.

On my second court date, after having met several times, I was accompanied by Jeffrey. Jeffrey told me to wait outside the courtroom and I complied. After roughly 20 minutes he reappeared to me with a welcoming smile and gave me the good news that he had gotten my cased dropped.

I’m not quite sure what he did in those 20 minutes but I can say with satisfaction that it was an amazing job. I felt, with fingers crossed, that it was a possibility that my case would be dropped but when it actually happened I almost couldn’t believe it. I’m very thankful for the work and service that was provided by Wolf Law. For them I have the utmost respect and my recommendation to anyone needing legal service goes to them with 100% certainty in their ability to promise and do their best.

— Christopher P.

Wolf Fought Hard and I Owe Him for All He Did

I am writing this letter to show how much I appreciate Mr. Jeff Wolf for representing me in my DUI case. When I first visited Mr. Wolf I had all these questions of what is going to happen in the case and to myself. I did have a prior DUI in another state so this was new to me.

I received my DUI in April and finished my court in September. During this time Mr. Wolf had an open door policy if you wanted to visit or maybe answer any questions that I may have had. His personal attention to my case made me feel at ease at all my court appearances.

Mr. Wolf guided me through all the steps that were taking place around my case and all his advice paid off when the day came for my sentencing. Actually, the judge was impressed with all the steps I was doing to remedy my terrible mistake. Mr. Wolf fought hard for me and I owe him for all that he did for my family and myself. I can honestly say that I have found a gentleman that I would recommend to another or help my family with any issues.

— Brian G.