Skilled Denver Juvenile Defense Attorneys Fighting for Your Child’s Future
If your child has been accused of a crime, you must act fast and retain our experienced Denver juvenile defense attorney to protect them from facing a criminal record. Although the juvenile justice system operates a little bit differently from the adult criminal court system, the bottom line remains the same: Your child’s future and livelihood are at stake.
The impact a juvenile crimes conviction may have on your child’s record is far-reaching and detrimental. They may experience issues securing employment, getting accepted into a university and finding other opportunities to succeed. The last thing you want to see is your child face the juvenile court system alone. This may be their first time dealing with a process of this intensity and they undoubtedly need our Denver juvenile defense lawyers to advocate aggressively on their behalf.
If your child is facing criminal charges, contact us today for a free consultation!
Understanding Juvenile Crimes & Penalties in Colorado
Juvenile crimes are offenses committed by a minor between the age of 10 and 18. While juveniles are just as capable of committing the same types of crimes as adults, below are some of the most common juvenile crimes:
- Minor in possession of alcohol
- Harassment: Class 6 felony
- False identification: Class 3 misdemeanor
- Violating curfew laws
- Disturbing the peace
- Drug crimes (possession, sale, distribution and paraphernalia)
- Sex crimes
- Assault and battery
Despite how harmless some of these crimes seem, the impact that being convicted of one can have on your child’s criminal record is life-changing. Our juvenile crimes defense team understand how serious these crimes can affect your child’s future, and will work diligently to reduce or dismiss the charge altogether so your child can move forward with a fresh start.
Colorado Juvenile Court Process
While the Colorado juvenile court system is intended to be rehabilitative rather than punitive, underlying penalties can still work against your child’s best interests. Not only is the system intimidating, but your child will also have to suffer a potential criminal record and an uncomfortable conversation with their peers about the distressing experience they faced.
The juvenile court process operates as such:
- Arrest: If your child is arrested, they will be taken into custody, where you will be notified of their arrest. A pretrial release may be granted depending on the severity of the alleged crime, the Juvenile Services Center review and your child’s prior record. Your child may be taken to juvenile detention if the staff sees fit.
- Detention hearing: A judge will decide whether there was probable cause for your child’s arrest and determine if bond should be administered. You will be requested to attend this hearing.
- Bond: The judge will decide if bond is appropriate for your child and, if so, your child may be granted a pretrial release. If your child is deemed to be too threatening to themselves or others, they may not get bond.
- Pretrial release: Your child will be required to follow specific rules based on the judge’s directions and be placed on an electric home monitor to ensure they are following curfew rules.
- Charge: After three business days, the District Attorney’s (DA) Office must file charges or else the case may be dropped. Your child may still face charges down the road if the DA reveals new compelling evidence.
- Return of filing: At this hearing, your child will learn about the specific charges filed against them. If no charges are filed, the case is dropped. If charges are brought against your child, they will be served a Petition stating the charges and will be notified of when to attend their preliminary hearing.
- Preliminary hearing: Depending on your child’s charge, they may be granted a preliminary hearing in which the DA attempts to prove that your child was arrested on probable cause.
- Status hearing: This is where our juvenile crimes defense attorneys are most effective. At this hearing, one of our skilled defense attorneys will meet with the DA to negotiate possible resolutions and alternatives to trial. Since we are known to be fierce negotiators, we are confident in our ability to take advantage of this process and vigorously advocate on your child’s behalf.
- Trial: Regardless of whether your child pleads guilty or not guilty, they will be taken to trial, where our attorney will defend their case and fight for their freedom.Unlike adult trials, Denver juvenile trials are typically presented to a judge without a jury.
*Juveniles tried as adults: In the uncommon instance that your child is accused of a felony and tried as an adult, they will face criminal penalties through a direct or transfer file.
Can My Child Be Tried As an Adult?
There are circumstances that allow the prosecution to charge your child as an adult. According to Colorado Revised Statutes § 19-2.5-801, the prosecution can file charges directly in the district court against your child if they are 16 years of age or older and:
- The charges involve a Class 1 or 2 felony;
- They are alleged to have committed a sexual assault or crime of violence; and
- They have a prior felony offense adjudication as a juvenile.
However, your child has an opportunity to send the case to juvenile court. A Denver juvenile defense lawyer can explain the procedure your child can use to try to convince a district court judge to transfer the case to juvenile court. Colorado law calls this a reverse-transfer hearing.
What Sentence Can My Child Get if Tried As an Adult?
If the court tries your child as an adult and they get convicted, the sentencing judge has several options. The court has the authority to sentence the child as an adult if convicted in district court, but that does not necessarily mean that they will throw your child into a state prison. They could, but the judge has the discretion to sentence them to an adult jail, adult state prison, or keep them within the youthful offender system within the department of corrections.
If your child faces adult charges, you are probably very worried about their future right now. But keep in mind that your child is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and a good lawyer can make compassionate arguments that may sway the judge to be lenient.
What Can Happen to My Child if the Case Is in Juvenile Court?
The juvenile courts’ purpose is to rehabilitate juvenile offenders in the hopes of preventing future misconduct. Therefore, juvenile justice often revolves around counseling, learning, attending school, and avoiding substance abuse. The consequences of a delinquent finding in juvenile court often involve supervised probation, community service, and restitution. The court designs these sanctions to help children recognize the serious nature of their misconduct, and to help them learn how to live their lives with more structure and responsibility.
Frequently Asked Questions
Our defender is happy to sit down and answer any questions you may have. Here are some of our most frequently encountered questions.
Will This Incident Remain on My Child’s Record Forever?
The short answer is: It depends. According to Colorado law, homicides, aggravated or violent felonies, sexual assault convictions, and traffic offenses must remain on your child’s record. However, with the help of your Denver defense attorney, your child can move to either seal or expunge their juvenile history. Expunging or sealing your record means that your child does not have to disclose an arrest or conviction.
Does My Child Need a Lawyer? Why Can’t I Represent My Child?
While there is no requirement that you use an attorney, there is simply too much at stake to try to “do-it-yourself” when it comes to criminal defense. A Denver juvenile defense attorney with extensive experience advocating for juveniles gives your child the best chance to avoid the harshest consequences of the juvenile justice system. Even if you don’t think the charges are that serious, you should work with a skilled juvenile lawyer to reduce the chance of a delinquency finding.
Will My Child Serve Jail Time?
Most juvenile judges understand that incarceration is not always the best way to rehabilitate a young person who has committed a crime. However, public safety considerations and your child’s history of juvenile offenses might indicate detention is an appropriate sentence. So don’t assume that your child will get a slap on the wrist for a first offense. Having our team to represent your child will give them the best chance of avoiding jail time.
Call Our Proven Denver Lawyer Today!
Whether this is your child’s first or third time undergoing the juvenile justice system, our seasoned defense lawyers at Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C. are determined to ensure they are treated as innocent until proven guilty. We want your child to not only enjoy freedom, but to utilize the necessary resources needed to get them back on their feet rather than a punitive juvenile detention sentence and hefty fines.
Our experienced legal team also handles other types of criminal charges cases, including:
- Domestic Abuse
- Drug Crime
- DUI / DUID
- Felony Charges
- Sexual Crimes
- Theft Charges
- Violent Charges
- White Collar Charges
Our goal is your goal: To provide the best life for your child. To accomplish this, we will guide you and your child through the details of their case and expected circumstances they may face. Plus, we can give an honest, thorough portrayal of their legal options and how to best move forward.
Is your child facing criminal charges? Discuss your needs with our lawyers by scheduling an appointment online today!