Colorado was one of the first states in the U.S. to create a separate juvenile criminal justice system for people between ages 10 and 17 who were suspected of committing crimes. Today, Colorado’s juvenile courts still handle the vast majority of cases involving this age group, but Colorado law allows district attorneys to submit certain juvenile cases to the state’s district courts instead. If the case is tried in district court, the juvenile accused of the crime may be tried under the same rules that apply to adults 18 and older.
When deciding whether or not to transfer a case from juvenile to district court, the district attorney considers factors such as the juvenile’s age, the type and severity of the charges, and the suspected juvenile’s past history with the courts. Younger persons who are charged with less serious crimes and who have no past history of criminal activity will rarely, if ever, be tried as adults.