Colorado Springs Juvenile Crime Defense Attorneys
Has Your Child Been Arrested?
The arrest of a child or teenager under the age of 18 can cause extreme tension and confusion for a family. Parents and guardians want the best for their children, but it's not always easy to face the realities of a juvenile crime. While juveniles are prosecuted differently and face different penalties than individuals who are tried as adults, the possibility for life-changing consequences is still very real for our youth.
When such an obstacle affects your child and family, seeking as much information as possible not only helps you decide on the best course of action, but also alleviates some fear and can make the situation more manageable.
If you have unanswered questions, Timothy Bussey can help. As a former prosecutor and former District Attorney in El Paso and Teller County, Mr. Bussey has extensive legal knowledge and resources to successfully defend the rights of his clients. For more information about how he can help preserve your child's future, call (719) 475-2555 for a confidential and free consultation.
What Happens When a Child is Arrested in Colorado Springs?
When a child is taken into custody on suspicion of breaking a state or local law, the state must notify the young person's parents. The young person may be released to their parents or may be held in a juvenile-specific facility if they are suspected of committing a violent or weapons-related crime. If the juvenile is not released, they receive screening in order to determine what sort of placement–such as a shelter or juvenile detention facility is most appropriate. Some young people may be released to their parents after screening, if the specific facts of the young person's case warrant it. Juveniles who are kept in state facilities must have a court hearing within 48 hours to determine whether it is appropriate for them to be held.
Meanwhile, the district attorney reviews the accusations against the young person and decides whether or not to file a petition in juvenile court or, in the most severe cases, to file criminal charges in the district court, where the young person may be tried as an adult. Some cases can be handled informally between the district attorney and the young person's family or their Colorado Springs juvenile defense lawyer. These cases typically involve minor offenses that represent a momentary lapse in judgment by the young person, rather than a pattern of misbehavior.
Building a Strong Defense in Colorado Springs
With the future wellbeing of your child at stake, it can be difficult to focus on the complicated legalities that could tell you how to best protect him or her in the eyes of the law. Whether charged with a drug crime, theft, sex crime, DUI, or another offense, having a lawyer on your side that you like and trust can go a long way in helping your child or teen.
At The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. our legal team conducts thorough investigations for our clients to ensure that all the necessary evidence is gathered and presented effectively. We firmly believe in getting to know our clients so that we can convey their story and apply justice to their circumstance. In building a strong juvenile crime case, we evaluate the opportunities for rehabilitation and restorative justice. Our ultimate goal is to protect our clients – right now and with the future in mind.
Juveniles Found Guilty or Not Guilty
If a case is filed in juvenile or district court, the young person and their family have the right to be represented by an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney. If the young person is found not to be guilty of the acts they are accused of, they may go home and the proceedings are over. If a young person is found guilty, however, the court then makes a presentence investigation of the case, considering factors like the stability of the young person's home life, their likelihood of succeeding in a reform program, probation, or another setting, and how likely he or she is to violate the law in the future. Juveniles and their families may be allowed to present evidence on these points to the court before a final decision is made.
Felonies in the Colorado Juvenile Justice System
It's tempting to think that juveniles who commit crimes will be treated leniently by courts, judges, and prosecutors, but the opposite is often true. In Colorado, at least, there is no "free pass" for an offender under the age of 18.
Under Colorado law, felonies are crimes that are punishable by a year or more in state prison. Colorado ranks felonies into six classes depending on their severity. Class 1 felonies are the most severe and carry the heaviest punishments, while Class 6 felonies are the least severe and carry the lightest punishments. Felony juvenile crimes such as sexual assault, murder, theft of valuable items, assault, and vehicular manslaughter can carry severe penalties, mandatory sentences, and affect the juvenile's life long after their court case has ended.
Colorado was one of the first states to create a separate system for handling cases involving juveniles. The purpose of the juvenile justice system to is handle cases in which reform may be a better option than incarceration, because the young age of most juvenile offenders gives them a chance to learn from the mistakes of their youth. As a result, juveniles who are charged with felonies in Colorado may benefit from being able to have their cases heard in the juvenile courts. If the young person is found to have committed a felony, they may have more options for reform if the matter is handled in a juvenile court.
Colorado Juvenile Courts
Colorado juvenile courts are typically responsible for trying cases in which a juvenile, or person ages 10 to 17, is charged with a felony. According to the National Center for Juvenile Justice, about one percent of the cases tried in juvenile courts each year are felonies-most cases tried in juvenile courts are misdemeanors or juvenile-specific issues, such as those that deal with school expulsions or a young person who has run away from home.
There's significant misunderstanding about the role of the courts in juvenile crimes, especially felony juvenile offenses. Ultimately, the circumstances of the crime in question will determine the treatment of the accused juvenile. Often, juvenile crimes are treated with an eye to prevention of recidivism and can include the intervention of a diversion program, the school system, and/or a social worker, but much depends on the underlying case and a host of other factors. It's important that parents and children alike have an experienced Colorado felony defense attorney who can help them navigate the often-confusing world of the juvenile justice system, especially when that system intersects with the adult justice system.
Consequences of Felony Juvenile Crime Conviction
It's no longer so simple to expunge juvenile offenses from a permanent record, and some Colorado prosecutors have even started charging minors who assist other minors in criminal acts with felony offenses. In addition, felony convictions often have a long afterlife, coming up in future criminal cases and impacting employement or juvenile educational opportunities.
Restorative Justice in Colorado
Rather than making punishment for a crime the main incentive, restorative justice aims to identify the reasons behind why an alleged crime may have been committed. This helps better the life of the individual charged with the offense so that he or she can avoid additional arrests in the future and live a more productive and fulfilling life.
While every avenue of defense will be explored and a strong case will be presented, probation may be an option in some circumstances. If a child or teenager is determined to have illegal substance abuse issues or has been diagnosed with a severe mental health condition, he or she may be eligible for specific probation programs.
Our youth has their entire lives ahead of them. Restorative justice serves as a second chance for an individual and helps to enhance the strength of a community overall.
Protecting Your Child's Rights
It's important never to give up on our youth, no matter what crime they've been accused of. Colorado Springs juvenile defense attorney Timothy Bussey stands by his clients and makes sure that their voice is heard. Contact our law firm today at (719) 475-2555 so we can help you obtain justice.
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