How is a Colorado Juvenile Case Different from an Adult Case?

Colorado’s juvenile court system handles criminal charges brought against “juveniles,” or people under age 18. Like adults charged with Colorado crimes, juveniles also have a right to be represented by an attorney.

The goals of juvenile cases often differ from the goals for an adult criminal case. Although both hold proceedings to determine whether the charged person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, in adult cases the purpose of the sentence is generally to punish the person if he or she is found guilty. In juvenile court, however, the goal is to teach, train, or rehabilitate the child as well as to hold him or her responsible for misbehaving.


The difference in goals leads to several differences in how a juvenile case goes forward. For instance, in many juvenile cases, the child’s parents or guardians are also required to attend court hearings and to help carry out any sentence or treatment the court requires. If the parents or guardians aren’t able or willing to get involved, the court may appoint another person, known as a “guardian ad litem,” to act in the parent’s or guardian’s place.

The types of sentences given in juvenile courts also differ. Except for petty offenses, all juvenile offenses in Colorado may be addressed with probation. A young person may also spend up to two years in a juvenile detention center. Therapy, classes, and other methods for helping a child get back on track are also used, and parents and caregivers are often expected to play an active role.

If your child is facing criminal charges in Colorado, don’t hesitate to contact a skilled Colorado Springs juvenile defense lawyer at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. Call (719) 475-2555 for a complimentary consultation regarding your child’s case.

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