Colorado Springs Juvenile Gang Crime Defense Lawyer
Juvenile gang crimes may start small, with transgressions such as painting graffiti on an abandoned building or shoplifting. A young person who is charged with a non-violent misdemeanor may face penalties such as time spent in a reform program if they are found to have committed the crime charged.
Often, kids who engage in these kinds of behaviors are merely testing boundaries, and may be making poor choices in part because they have not yet developed the critical thinking and reasoning skills necessary to understand the full impact of their actions. An experienced juvenile gang criminal defense attorney can help these young people seek an outcome in juvenile court that best fits their individual needs.
Colorado Laws Addressing Criminal Mischief
Colorado has a number of laws that were passed to address real or perceived increases in the number of young people involved in gangs. These include laws allowing cities and counties to pass curfew ordinances, laws prohibiting gang recruitment activities, prohibiting loitering, graffiti or other types of "criminal mischief," and laws creating in-school and other programs to teach young people to recognize and avoid gang activity and give them other avenues into which to focus their energy.
Criminal laws prohibiting gang-related activity may apply to either juveniles, adults, or both. For instance, Colorado law prohibits people 18-years-old or older from soliciting juveniles under age 18 to join a criminal street gang. Curfew laws and laws banning vandalism, criminal mischief, and drive-by shootings, however, may apply either to juveniles or to adults.
Seemingly "Minor" Crimes in Colorado Springs
Although gang members between the ages to 10 and 17-years-old are only a small minority of the youth population in the United States, they commit the majority of violent juvenile crimes in the U.S., including Colorado, according to the U.S. Surgeon General. As gang-related crimes among juveniles appeared to increase dramatically in the 1990s, states have responded by cracking down on gang and gang-like behavior by passing a number of laws making gang-related activities and gang affiliation punishable by juvenile and adult criminal courts. This does not mean, however, that every young person who is or appears to be affiliated with a gang is involved in criminal activity.
Gangs and Violent Crimes
Unfortunately, many young people who join gangs soon find that gang members are also involved in violent criminal activities as well. In fact, as many as 79 percent of violent juvenile crimes are committed by gang members, and approximately 68 percent of gang members become involved in drug selling and/or carry a weapon for protection, according to the U.S. Surgeon General. When early intervention by the juvenile courts fails, these young people may need the help of an experienced juvenile felony attorney if they find themselves facing criminal charges in juvenile court or district court.
Charges of gang-related behavior can carry serious penalties, even for juveniles, if the person charged is convicted. Colorado Springs gang crime attorney Timothy Bussey draws on his experience as a former El Paso and Teller County Deputy District Attorney and a criminal defense lawyer to fight to protect the rights of each person he serves, including juveniles. To learn more, call The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. at (719) 475-2555.
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