Are Juveniles Treated the Same Way as Adults?

No, the juvenile justice system focuses on treatment and rehabilitation, whereas the adult system primarily focuses on punishment. The Colorado Children’s Code governs juvenile prosecutions in Colorado, and it mandates that the juvenile justice system secure for each delinquent such care and guidance, preferably in his own home, as will best serve his welfare and the interests of society.

What are the possible punishments for a juvenile facing prosecution?

The consequences facing a kid who gets in trouble vary widely depending on the circumstances of the offense and that juvenile’s prior criminal history, if any.

First time offenders may be offered juvenile diversion, an alternative to formal prosecution designed to keep juvenile offenders out of the court system, yet hold them accountable for any wrongdoing. So long as the juvenile successfully completes diversion, the juvenile will not have any conviction record, and will not be required to pay any court fines or court costs.

Juveniles facing serious charges, or juveniles facing less serious charges but whom have prior criminal records, may face detention or probationary sentences of up to two years.

The most severely delinquent youth can be sentenced to the Department of Youth Corrections for up to two years.

Further, a Court may order that the child be committed to DHS, be placed with social services, placed in a hospital, or order the child to complete anger management treatment or any other appropriate treatment program.

What rights does a juvenile have when facing interrogation by the police?

Statements or admissions made by a juvenile in response to a custodial interrogation of a juvenile by a law enforcement officer, concerning delinquent acts alleged to have been committed by the juvenile, cannot be admitted as evidence against the juvenile unless a parent or legal guardian was present during that interrogation.

Further, the juvenile and his parents must be advised of the juvenile’s rights prior to the law enforcement agent initiating any such interrogation. Because the decision as to whether or not to make statements to police can have substantial consequences both for the juvenile and his parents, it is important that the parents contact a Denver Juvenile Defense Attorney prior to determining whether or not making any such statements, and thus waiving the juvenile’s rights, would be prudent.

Are juvenile records public?

No, disclosure of juvenile records generally is not permitted. Court records in a juvenile delinquency proceeding are only available to the juvenile, the juvenile’s parents, an attorney of record, and the juvenile’s guardian ad litem, as well as the probation department, the court, and any law enforcement agency in Colorado. However, disclosure of juvenile records may be allowed where a juvenile has committed an act that would be a crime of violence if committed by an adult.

Can juvenile records be expunged?

A court may order all the records in a juvenile’s case expunged if the court finds that the juvenile has not been convicted of a felony or of a misdemeanor and has not been adjudicated a juvenile delinquent since the termination of the court’s jurisdiction; no proceeding concerning a felony, misdemeanor, or delinquency action is pending or being instituted against the juvenile; and, the rehabilitation of the petitioner has been attained to the satisfaction of the court.