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.
Colorado law requires a child to be at least 12-years-old before they can be tried as an adult, and then only if the charges are for a Class 1 or Class 2 felony and the case is transferred from the district court. Young people aged 16 or older may be tried as adults with their cases filed directly in the district court, but only for certain severe charges, including homicide and other felony crimes of violence.
When a young person is charged with a crime, it’s important to choose an attorney that knows the ins and outs of the juvenile justice system. Colorado Springs juvenile crime attorney Timothy Bussey’s experience with Colorado’s juvenile courts can help you and your loved ones fight to protect a young person’s rights while seeking the best possible outcome in their case. To learn more, call The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. today at 719-475-2555.