In Colorado, a person under the age of 18 years old is deemed a juvenile by state law. That means, if charged with a criminal offense, he or she will be viewed and handled in a different manner by the justice system than those older than 18. In fact, according to Colorado state law section 19-2-104, C.R.S., the Colorado juvenile court and justice system has exclusive authority over any juvenile case involving a minor older than 10 years of age that involves certain offenses and circumstances. However, whether or not a case is handled by juvenile court depends entirely on the nature of the offense and circumstances of the crime.
Generally, offenses involving violations classified on the less severe side of the criminal scale, or those that would be otherwise legal if they were an adult (status offenses), are often handled in juvenile court. But a serious crime, such as a felony (delinquency offenses), can cause a case to be transferred to a district court, which holds a much more severe capacity for punishment. Typically, the older an offender is and the more severe the crime committed increase the level of punishment.
Four elements that may dictate whether a juvenile is tried as an adult are:
- The minor’s age;
- The nature of the charge;
- Criminal record; and
- History of delinquent activity.
Felony charges that involve harming another individual, theft, drug trafficking, vandalism, property destruction, or vehicular manslaughter, all carry serious, lasting repercussions.
These penalties can remain on a juvenile’s record and negatively affect his or her life for years to come, impacting future educational and employment opportunities, as well as other judicial matters. If your child is facing juvenile felony charges in Colorado, contact the Colorado juvenile crime attorneys with the Bussey Law Firm, P.C. at (719) 475-2555 for a complimentary consultation.