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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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The Best!

Jeff is very professional, knowledgeable, and as good of a lawyer as there is. I had a restraining order full of false allegations, and Jeff got everything dismissed. Even though it was a restraining order, Jeff treated my case as important as any other case. Thanks, Jeff!

— Anonymous

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.

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

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

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.

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

Responsive, Insightful, Professional and Compassionate

Jeff is not only great in the courtroom, but has a sense of caring and true passion for his profession. He takes the time to explain things with a productive attitude. I would highly recommend him and can’t thank him enough.

— Mike

Working with Mr. Wolf

I cannot speak high enough of Mr. Jeffrey Wolf! He was very pleasant to work with and explained each step of the journey from start to the final video teleconference with the judge. He negotiated a much lower sentence with the DA from DUI to DWAI. He reiterated several points that were then considered by the judge and taken into account in deciding my sentence. He was always prompt in any communications and worked tirelessly on my case to get a very favorable outcome for me. I would whole-heartedly recommend Mr. Wolf as you can be ensured it felt like I was an individual that truly mattered to him and his practice. From the very first phone call, I had nothing but respect for him and felt I was in good hands, that he then proved! You can’t go wrong with Mr. Jeffrey Wolf!

— - L

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.

Jeff Helped Me Feel Safe Again

I would highly recommend attorney Jeffrey Wolf. He consistently demonstrates knowledge and professionalism, both in and out of the courtroom. His expertise helped me to understand the legal process. As a victim of domestic violence, I looked to Mr. Wolf to assist me in obtaining a restraining order. His compassion combined with skill helped me to feel safe again.  I reached a positive outcome in my case and felt informed, confident, and cared for with Mr. Wolf in my corner.

— Karen