When is a Young Person in Colorado No Longer a “Juvenile”?

Colorado law considers the age of majority to be 18-years-old in many cases, including for many criminal charges. At 18, a young person who is charged with a crime in Colorado may have to deal with the general courts, instead of with the juvenile courts that specialize in working with younger individuals.

At 18, a young person is no longer considered a “juvenile” for situations like fighting or other assaults, reckless driving, and many other acts. A young person can also be tried in criminal courts for offenses related to drinking, since the drinking age in Colorado – just like in every other U.S. state – is 21-years-old, not 18. These include both minor in possession of alcohol matters and driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI).


Even before a young person reaches age 18, he or she may be tried as an adult in Colorado for certain charges. Usually, these are charges for serious felonies like homicide or for involvement in violent gang activity. The decision whether to charge an under-18 Colorado juvenile as an adult is typically made by the prosecutor’s office, and it involves moving the case from the juvenile court to the district or circuit court for a preliminary hearing.

Young people are constantly trying new things, testing their judgment, and pushing the boundaries. Sometimes, these youthful explorations end in trouble. If your teen is facing criminal charges in the juvenile justice system, the dedicated juvenile defense lawyers in Colorado at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. can help. For a free, confidential consultation, call us today at (719) 475-2555.

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