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Top Five Terms You’ll Hear in a Colorado Juvenile Justice Proceeding

By Timothy Bussey on August 4, 2014

The juvenile justice system in Colorado works differently than the standard criminal justice system. It serves a different population – children – and it has different goals than the criminal justice system that adults face. As a result, it has its own set of words and phrases to describe the process.

Here are five terms you’ll likely hear in juvenile court and what they mean:

  • Adjudication/Adjudicatory: This is the hearing at which the child’s guilt or innocence is decided, often by presenting a case to a judge or jury who makes the decision.
  • Advisement: Occurs when the court tells the accused juvenile what his or her rights are. This event, or the list of rights read at it, might also be called the “Advisement of Rights.” The advisement must take place during the child’s first court appearance.
  • Delinquent: A child age 10 or older who is found to have broken the law. The official court document charging the child with a crime is known as a “delinquency petition.” A child who is found to have committed a crime is said to be “adjudicated delinquent.”
  • Guardian ad Litem: An adult appointed by the court to protect the interests of a child during a court case. Often, the job of the guardian ad Litem is to ensure the best interests of the child do not get mixed up with the interests of the parents, the school, or the state.
  • Recidivism: Returning to criminal activity after being convicted of a crime and serving a penalty. One of the major goals of the juvenile justice system is to help a child avoid recidivism, if he or she is found to have committed a crime.

If your child or teenager has been arrested, don’t wait: contact experienced Colorado Springs juvenile defense attorney Timothy Bussey at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. Your initial consultation is free and confidential.

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