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    Colorado Juvenile Criminal Law – I Am Now An Adult – How Can I Be Prosecuted in Juvenile Court?

    By H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Juvenile Crimes Criminal Defense Lawyer

    Colorado Juvenile Criminal Law - I Am Now An Adult - How Can I Be Prosecuted in Juvenile Court?

    Colorado Juvenile Criminal Law – I Am Now An Adult – How Can I Be Prosecuted in Juvenile Court?

    Colorado Juvenile Criminal Law – I Am Now An Adult – How Can I Be Prosecuted in Juvenile Court? One of the most shocking situations to those arrested as adults for crimes they may or may not have committed as juveniles – is that after all of these years the juvenile court can still reach out and still prosecute them… that is they ask how can the juvenile court still have jurisdiction over them.

    Colorado Juvenile Court Jurisdiction – the Law

    We begin with some basic Colorado laws under Title 19 – Jurisdiction Under The Colorado Juvenile Code.

    The Colorado Juvenile court may retain jurisdiction over a juvenile until:

    1. All orders have been fully complied with,

    2. All pending cases have been completed, or

    3. The relevant statute of limitations has run

    And this is true regardless of whether a juvenile has turned eighteen (18) years old and regardless of the age of the juvenile. The jurisdiction – that is – the power of the court in delinquency matters does not end when the juvenile turns eighteen years of age.

    The Colorado juvenile court has exclusive jurisdiction over a child under CRS § 19-1-104 in delinquency proceedings.

    The Process For Adults Arrested For Crimes They Allegedly Committed As Juveniles

    The adult is brought to court in one of three different ways:

    1. By arrest warrant.

    2. Detention by law enforcement.

    3. Summons and Complaint issued with a first court appearance date.

    At the first court appearance, you will be advised of your rights and charges.

    Even as an adult you will need to decide whether to plea bargain, enter a not guilty plea and set a trial, or plead guilty to the charges.

    As a juvenile you would have been charged for a “delinquent act”

    This is a violation of state and federal statutes and court orders but do not include non-felony state traffic laws, parks and recreation and game and fish laws or regulations, and offenses concerning tobacco products by an underage person.

    A quick review – The typical juvenile court jurisdiction is for juveniles aged 10-17. At the time the juvenile turns 18 – they can be sentenced for criminal acts they committed as juveniles to county jail or to community corrections.

    How Does A Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer Approach Adults Prosecuted In Juvenile Court?

    it is important to note the obvious and practical difficulties of proving an “old crime.” These issues include statute of limitations defenses, lost evidence, lost witnesses, poor or distorted memory issues and other tactical considerations.

    Assuming the case is “provable” the next questions is what is the legal and more importantly – the appropriate punishment? As in all old cases – the Defendant (called the Respondent in Juvenile Court) – must be sentenced in accordance with the juvenile code that existed at the time of the crime. That can be a positive or a negative thing depending on the laws in existence at the time of the original offense.

    Adults Charged in Colorado Juvenile Court – Recent Developments In Neuroscience Of The Brain Have Changed The Way We View Juvenile Crime

    When you are prosecuted as an adult for a crime that happened as a juvenile the Colorado criminal defense lawyer should argue the developments in neuroscience of the brain that explain to the Judge that juveniles have less risk perception, less foresight, and less self control than adults. That the focus of the sentence should take into consideration – no matter how serious the crime – that the adult of today – the crime committed as a juvenile should look closely at the “moral culpability” of the child who committed the crime.

    The Issue Is Well Described By Rutgers Professor Laura Cohen:

    “One of the interesting things about these old cases that end up in juvenile court is that it’s not that speculative. The question is, are you undertaking this evaluation with the benefit of hindsight, or are you trying to put yourself in the position that you would have been in when the person was 15?”

    If you turn back the clock to a time when the crime was committed as a teenager, neuroscience and development psychology have proven that juveniles are developmentally different from adults. Juveniles are much less “risk-averse” than adults.

    Juveniles – it is well established – engage in spontaneous acts without weighing of the risks and long-term consequences. Without life-experiences they simply cannot control their emotional impulses, to weigh and understand the consequences of their acts.

    If that development has not taken place – in many instances until the person is in their twenties – the sentence of an adult for acts he or she committed as a juvenile SHOULD REFLECT these developmental differences.”

    To summarize – there are 3 justifications for an adolescents’ reduced culpability:

    1. Immature judgment,

    2. Susceptibility to negative peer influences, and

    3. Transitional identities

    The Court’s Sentencing Orientation – Rehabilitation Over Deterrence and Punishment In Colorado Juvenile Court

    The Colorado adult criminal justice system focuses primarily on deterrence of the actor while the Colorado juvenile justice system focuses on the rehabilitation of the offender. The goal of the juvenile system is that children are capable of change.

    Depending on the Defendant’s criminal record since the time of the crime – the experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyer may argue:

    1. The absence of a subsequent criminal history PROVES that the future of the juvenile is no longer speculative. The Court has the benefit of hindsight…. that the respondent’s life turned out well.

    or alternatively,

    2. The presence of a subsequent criminal history established the need for treatment which was never received because the juvenile’s crime was never detected and therefore the juvenile became the adult criminal 

    Both these positions are not only viable – and they are probably true in any given case.

    In EITHER case – the need for a Colorado Juvenile Crimes defense lawyer who understands BOTH the adult AND the juvenile criminal codes and justice system is critical in these cases.

    Colorado Juvenile Criminal Law – I Am Now An Adult – How Can I Be Prosecuted in Juvenile Court?

    If you found any information I have provided on this web page article helpful please click my Plus+1 button below so that others may also find it.

    Never stop fighting – never stop believing in yourself and your right to due process of law.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author at [email protected] – A Denver Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – 720-220-2277. Attorney H. Michael Steinberg is passionate about criminal defense. His extensive knowledge and experience of Colorado Criminal Law gives him the edge you need to properly handle your case.

    A Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. If you are seeking counsel there maybe other more specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics. For that, please contact the author.

    If you are charged with A Colorado crime or you have questions about the topic of this article – Colorado Juvenile Criminal Law – I Am Now An Adult – How Can I Be Prosecuted in Juvenile Court?- please call our office. The Law Offices of H. Michael Steinberg, in Denver, Colorado, provide criminal defense clients with effective, efficient, intelligent and strong legal advocacy. We can educate you and help you navigate the stressful and complex legal process related to your criminal defense issue.

    Over 40 Years Specializing in Colorado Criminal LawH. Michael Steinberg, is a Denver, Colorado criminal defense lawyer with over 40 years of day to day courtroom experience – specializing in Colorado Criminal Law along the Front Range. He will provide you with a free initial case consultation to evaluate your legal issues and to answer your questions with an honest assessment of your options. Remember, it costs NOTHING to discuss your case. Call now for an immediate free phone consultation.


    Helping Clients To Make Informed Decisions In the Defense of Colorado Criminal Cases.

    Contact A Lawyer with Three Decades of Experience as a Denver Criminal Attorney at The Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm today.

    Colorado Defense Lawyer H. Michael Steinberg regularly appears and provides solid criminal defense for clients throughout the Front Range of Colorado – including the courts of:

    Adams County (Adams County criminal defense lawyer), Arapahoe County (Arapahoe County criminal defense lawyer), City and County of Boulder (Boulder County criminal defense lawyer), City and County of Broomfield (Broomfield County criminal defense lawyer), City and County of Denver (Denver criminal defense lawyer), Douglas County (Douglas County criminal defense lawyer), El Paso County – Colorado Springs (Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyer), Gilpin County (Gilpin County criminal defense lawyer), Jefferson County (Jefferson County criminal defense lawyer), Larimer County, and Weld County ( Larimer and Weld County criminal defense lawyer,….

    and all the other cities and counties of Colorado along the I-25 Corridor… on cases involving the subject of this article – Colorado Juvenile Criminal Law – I Am Now An Adult – How Can I Be Prosecuted in Juvenile Court?

    Charged As An Adult In Colorado Juvenile Court - What Now?
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    Charged As An Adult In Colorado Juvenile Court - What Now?
    When can an adult be prosecuted in juvenile court for crimes committed when a juvenile.

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    If you found the information provided on this webpage to be helpful, please click my Plus+1 button so that others may also find it.

    H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
    Attorney and Counselor at Law
    The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
    A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
    Colorado Criminal Law For Over 40 Years.
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    8400 East Prentice Ave, Penthouse 1500
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