Over arguments about whether or not to change Colorado’s system allowing prosecutors to charge many people under 18 as adults, the state’s governor recently signed into law a bill that limits the use of “direct filing” to the most serious crimes, according to a recent article in the JD Journal. The law restricts the power of prosecutors to charge juveniles as adults who are suspected of criminal behavior.
Before the new law went into effect, Colorado prosecutors had broad discretion whether or not to charge many young people as adults. Under the “direct filing” system, a person as young as 14 could be tried as an adult, even for a low-level or mid-level felony. Although many prosecutors restricted their power to try juveniles as adults to older teens and the most serious charges, advocates of the change say that the presence of the power made it more likely to be abused.
The new bill raises the minimum age for being tried as an adult from 14 to 16 years old. It also restricts use of adult charges to the most serious classes of Colorado felonies.
Charges for juvenile crimes may differ from charges for adult crimes, and the penalties a charged person faces if convicted are also quite different. If your child is facing a juvenile charge, please don’t hesitate to call a knowledgeable Colorado Springs juvenile defense attorney at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. We have experience handling the unique aspects of the juvenile system and will fight for the best possible outcome for young people facing charges. For a free and confidential consultation, call us today at (719) 475-2555.