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Colorado Juvenile Law – Lowest Age Before You Can Be Charged In Juvenile Court

By H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer

Colorado Juvenile Law - Lowest Age Before You Can Be Charged In Juvenile Court

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Colorado Juvenile Law – Lowest Age Before You Can Be Charged In Juvenile Court

Colorado Juvenile Law – Lowest Age Before You Can Be Charged In Juvenile Court – The issue is raised often by parents that call my firm – at what age can their child be charged in Colorado Juvenile Court for what would be a crime if committed by an adult?

Here is the answer illustrated by a recent (2015) Colorado case, People in the Interest of P.K.

Colorado Juvenile Court Minimum Age Before A Child Can Be Prosecuted

Colorado’s juvenile court system applies to juveniles when they reach a certain age and not before. This is called subject matter jurisdiction.

“Subject matter jurisdiction concerns a court’s authority to hear and rule on a certain class of cases and is conferred by the state constitution and statutes.”

In Colorado Juvenile Court – it is not the age of the child when the case is resolved that matters to the jurisdiction of the Court, it is the age of the child at which point the alleged criminal acts were  committed. Because jurisdiction is not “waivable,” if a defect of the Court’s jurisdiction is uncovered at ANY time, that defect can be raised and even an old adjudication (conviction) can be vacated.

Because ALL Courts must have jurisdiction to act, any action taken by a Court when it lacks jurisdiction …is a legal nullity.

In Colorado, the Juvenile Court is a creature of statute, and the statutory language establishing the scope of its jurisdiction necessarily delimits that jurisdiction. Since a Court must always have jurisdiction to act, and the Colorado Juvenile Court is a creature of statute, the statutory language establishing the scope of its jurisdiction necessarily delimits that jurisdiction.

Ten Years Old Is The Minimum Age Before A Juvenile Can Be Charged In Colorado’s Juvenile Court System

Colorado’s juvenile court system only has jurisdiction over children 10 years of age and older. This is set out in the COLORADO JUVENILE CODE – CRS Title 19 (2015).

Specifically, Section 19-2-104(1)(a), (7), C.R.S. confers, by law, the exclusive jurisdiction of the juvenile court over cases concerning juveniles between ten and eighteen years of age.

When a child is charged before the minimum age, the charging document, known as a Petition in juvenile court (an information and complaint in adult court), is “fatally defective” and the matter must be dismissed and the Petition corrected.

Therefore, in a case where a Colorado Juvenile Prosecutor has charged a juvenile with crimes occurring over a long period which includes multiple dates within a range, some of which occurred when the child was under 10 years old and some after that point in time, the entire case must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.  The case CAN later be re-filed if the defects are corrected and the case is still within the statute of limitations for the filing of charges.

If the petition, the “charging document:”

“avers two dates, one of which is so remote as to be barred by the statute of limitations, it is defective.” Thus, when the time period on the charging document shows on its face that it is barred by the statute of limitations, the charging document must allege one or more of the exceptions to the expiration of time limitation because statutes of limitations are jurisdictional and “a [charging document] which shows on its face that the prosecution is barred by limitations fails to state a public offense.”

What Follows Is Colorado’s Juvenile Court Jurisdiction Statute – 19-2-104 CRS

Because in Colorado, the Juvenile Court was a creation of statute, the precise statutory language of that law, establishes the scope and breadth of the Court’s jurisdiction and therefore “delimits that jurisdiction.”

19-2-104. Jurisdiction.

(1) Except as otherwise provided by law, the juvenile court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction in proceedings:

(a) Concerning any juvenile ten years of age or older who has violated:

(I) Any federal or state law, except nonfelony state traffic, game and fish, and parks and recreation laws or rules, the offenses specified in section 18-13-121, C.R.S., concerning tobacco products, the offense specified in section 18-13-122, C.R.S., concerning the illegal possession or consumption of ethyl alcohol or marijuana by an underage person or illegal possession of marijuana paraphernalia by an underage person, and the offenses specified in section 18-18-406 (5) (a) (I), (5) (b) (I), and (5) (b) (II), C.R.S., concerning marijuana and marijuana concentrate;

(II) Any county or municipal ordinance except traffic ordinances, the penalty for which may be a jail sentence of more than ten days; or

(III) Any lawful order of the court made under this title;

(b) Concerning any juvenile to which section 19-2-518 applies; except that, after filing charges in the juvenile court but prior to the time that the juvenile court conducts a transfer hearing, the district attorney may file the same or different charges against the juvenile by direct filing of an information in the district court or by indictment pursuant to section 19-2-517. Upon said filing or indictment in the district court, the juvenile court shall no longer have jurisdiction over proceedings concerning said charges.

(2) The juvenile court shall have limited jurisdiction in matters to which section 19-2- 517 applies.

(3) The fact that a juvenile has been prosecuted or convicted in the county court for a nonfelony violation under title 42, C.R.S., shall not be a bar to a subsequent or parallel proceeding under this title for delinquent acts arising out of the same criminal episode; nor shall proceedings under this title be a bar to a subsequent or parallel prosecution in the county court for a nonfelony violation under title 42, C.R.S., for the same delinquent acts arising from the same criminal episode.

(4) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section to the contrary, the juvenile court may exercise jurisdiction over a juvenile who is under sixteen years of age and who has violated a traffic law or ordinance if his or her case is transferred to the juvenile court from the county court. Such a transfer shall be subject to approval by the juvenile court.

(5) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section to the contrary, the juvenile court and the county court shall have concurrent jurisdiction over a juvenile who is under eighteen years of age and who is charged with a violation of section 18-13-122, 18-18-406 (5) (a) (I), (5)

(b) (I), and (5) (b) (II), 18-18-428, 18-18-429, 18-18-430, or 42-4-1301, C.R.S.; except that, if the juvenile court accepts jurisdiction over such a juvenile, the county court jurisdiction shall terminate.

(6) The juvenile court may retain jurisdiction over a juvenile until all orders have been fully complied with by such person, or any pending cases have been completed, or the statute of limitations applicable to any offense that may be charged has run, regardless of whether such person has attained the age of eighteen years, and regardless of the age of such person.

(7) This section shall not be construed to confer any jurisdiction upon the court over a person for any offense committed after the person attains the age of eighteen years.

Colorado Juvenile Law – Lowest Age Before You Can Be Charged In Juvenile Court

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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 hmsteinberg@hotmail.com – 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.

Colorado Juvenile Criminal Defense LawyerYou should be careful to make a responsible choice in selecting a Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – and we encourage you to “vet” our firm. Over the last 30 plus years – by focusing ONLY on Colorado criminal law – H. Michael has had the necessary time to commit to the task of constantly updating himself on nearly every area of criminal law, to include Colorado criminal law and procedure and trial and courtroom practice. H. Michael works hard to get his clients the best possible results in and out of the courtroom. He has written, and continues to write, extensively on Colorado criminal law and he hopes this article helps you in some small way – Colorado Juvenile Law – Lowest Age Before You Can Be Charged In Juvenile Court.

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Colorado Juvenile Law - Lowest Age Before You Can Be Charged In Juvenile Court
Article Name
Colorado Juvenile Law - Lowest Age Before You Can Be Charged In Juvenile Court
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The issue is raised often by parents that call my firm - at what age can their child be charged in Colorado Juvenile Court for what would be a crime if committed by an adult?
Author

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.

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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 30 Years.
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