Colorado parents can feel lost and confused when dealing with their child facing charges in the juvenile system. Although most people have at least a basic understanding of the adult criminal system, the juvenile system has its own set of rules and standards. Because of the significant differences between the two systems and the potential impact on a child’s future, juvenile defense options should be addressed with those who have experience and knowledge in the field.
In some ways, the juvenile system does deal with many of the same charges as adults, including drug offenses, assault, DUI or possession. Minors can still be sentenced to time behind bars in a juvenile detention center, and many charges carry penalties of up to two years behind bars. This length of time might seem insignificant in comparison to adult consequences, but these are often the formative years for teenagers that ultimately impact the rest of their lives. Formulating a solid and cohesive defense takes careful planning and expertise. When done correctly, it can minimize the impact on a minor’s life.
Even when a minor is convicted of a juvenile charge, he or she will not necessarily have to carry the burden of a criminal record of the remainder of their life. Expungement, which effectively removes the charge and conviction from a person’s record, is typically possible when a minor reaches the age of 18. However, this hinges upon the initial handling of the charge, which must be done properly.
Virtually all teenagers make mistakes or bad decisions, but this does not mean that they must carry the burden of those decisions for the remainder of their lives. We firmly believe that juvenile defense should be handled in a timely and sensible matter that will ultimately achieve the best outcome possible for our clients in Colorado. For parents and minors who are currently dealing with the juvenile criminal court system, additional information can be found on our website.