The law recognizes that crimes involving young people should be handled differently than those involving adults. Young people have brains that are still developing and may lack the maturity to understand the potential consequences of actions. The juvenile system is set up to help rehabilitate offenders, rather than punish them. This is not typically the case for adult offenders.
If your child is facing charges for juvenile crimes, it is important you work with a Loveland juvenile crimes attorney who is focused on their client’s long-term goals. Loveland criminal defense attorney Sean P. Harrell is a former district attorney and can explain your child’s rights to them and offer sage legal counsel. Call (970) 791-2006 and contact The Harrell Law Firm, PLLC.
What Are Juvenile Crimes?
Juvenile crimes can take on the following forms, including:
- Acts of delinquency – These include conduct that would be considered criminal if an adult committed them.
- Status offenses – Children are subject to unique rules that adults do not have to follow, such as legal curfews or skipping school. These are known as status offenses.
Children who commit these offenses are often tried in the juvenile justice system. Here, juvenile courts can order various types of services that may help rehabilitate them, such as drug and alcohol rehabilitation, family counseling, individual therapy, educational requirements, and more. In some situations, a juvenile can be ordered to remain in a juvenile detention facility until they reach a certain age or for a certain amount of time.
Transfer Hearings to the Adult Justice System
If a child is 12 or older and commits a very serious crime, they can be transferred to the adult justice system. This can mean that they face the same potential penalties and consequences as any adult offender who committed the same type of crime.
When a prosecutor wants to try a child as an adult, a hearing must first be held to determine if this action is in the best interest of the child and the interest of justice. A juvenile has a right to be represented by legal counsel during this hearing. A legal advocate can argue that the juvenile should be processed in the juvenile justice system because of factors such as:
- The offense is not that serious
- The offense was not premeditated or did not involve intent
- The offense was against property and not a person
- The juvenile is immature or did not understand the nature of their actions
- The juvenile has a positive record
- The alleged victim does not want the juvenile tried as an adult
It is also important to note that juveniles in Colorado can only be charged as adults if they commit certain classes of crimes, depending on their age. If the juvenile is convicted of a crime after an information has been filed against them, the judge can sentence the juvenile as an adult or to the youthful offender system in the Department of Corrections.
Contact Us for More Information to Understand Your Legal Rights and Options
If you are worried about how criminal charges may affect your child’s future, reach out to The Harrell Law Firm, PLLC today. Loveland juvenile crime attorney Sean P. Harrell can discuss your legal options during an in-depth confidential consultation. Contact us online or call (970) 791-2006 today.