In 1993, Colorado passed a law allowing children under age 18 to be tried as adults for certain offenses, usually felonies. However, the increase in young people being tried and sentenced as adults in that time has led lawmakers to reconsider this law, according to a recent news report from CBS.
Traditionally, prosecutors have always had discretion to consider adult charges for children under 18 in serious felony situations, such as premeditated murder. After an outbreak of gang violence in 1993, however, Colorado lawmakers broadened the power of prosecutors to charge young people as adults. The result has been that many youths, particularly in the 14-to-17-year-old age range, have been tried and sentenced as adults for lesser offenses, such as burglary, in addition to more serious felony juvenile crimes.
A new bill recently introduced in the state legislature would restrict this broadened power, especially as it applies to children ages 14 to 17. It would limit the situations in which prosecutors would be allowed to seek adult charges against an under-18 defendant.
A related bill, which is waiting for the governor’s signature, requires children under 18 who are charged with any crime to be held in a juvenile facility, not an adult one, if they cannot be sent home prior to trial.
A felony charge is a serious matter, regardless of how old or young you are. If you or someone you care about is facing felony charges, please don’t wait. Call the experienced Colorado Springs felony defense lawyers at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. today. We’ll help you through every step of the process, fighting to protect your rights and to seek the best possible results based on the facts of your individual case. Call (719) 475-2555 today for a free, confidential case evaluation.