Colorado Juvenile Defense Lawyer
Juvenile Defense Lawyers In Colorado
Colorado juvenile offenses have consequences that can significantly impact a young person’s life for years.
If your child is facing criminal charges, it’s essential to have skilled legal representation to navigate the complex juvenile justice system. This is where Mike W. Moran, top-rated Colorado Springs juvenile defense attorney, can provide invaluable assistance.
Mike W. Moran is an experienced juvenile defense attorney who stands by his clients and ensures their voices are heard. He understands juvenile cases’ unique challenges and sensitivities and works diligently to protect the child’s future.
Mike Moran’s approach thoroughly analyzes the case’s details and identifies potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s argument. He will aggressively argue evidence, arrest legality, and charge severity.
Understanding Juvenile Law In Colorado
Under Colorado state law, a young person aged 12 to 17 can be tried in criminal court for class 1 felony or class 2 felony charges. These include serious offenses like murder, kidnapping, and sexual assault. Less severe crimes can also lead to charges within the juvenile justice system, such as theft, drug possession, and vandalism
The Role Of Juvenile Defense Lawyers
Juvenile defense lawyers in Colorado, as in many jurisdictions across the United States, represent and advocate for youth who have been accused of committing a crime. This representation is crucial as the juvenile justice system operates differently than the adult criminal justice system, with its rules, procedures, and guiding principles.
An expert juvenile defense lawyer will provide:
- Rights Protection: The juvenile defense lawyer must defend the kid’s rights throughout the legal procedure. This includes informing the youngster of their rights to keep silent, an attorney, and a fair trial.
- Legal Representation: The lawyer provides representation at all stages of the legal process, from arrest and detention through adjudication (the juvenile court’s equivalent of a trial), and post-adjudication matters like probation or appeals.
- Advising and Counseling: Juvenile defense lawyers advise their clients about the legal implications of their actions, the potential outcomes of their cases, and the best strategies for defense. Given the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of youth, they also often provide counseling or refer clients to appropriate counseling services.
- Negotiation with Prosecutors: Lawyers may negotiate with prosecutors to reach plea deals or alternative resolutions, such as diversion programs, that can help keep juveniles out of detention facilities and provide them with rehabilitative services.
- Understanding of Juvenile Law: Colorado, like many states, has specific laws, regulations, and policies governing the juvenile justice system. Juvenile defense lawyers must be well-versed in these regulations and use them to their client’s advantage.
- Advocacy for Rehabilitation and Support: Given that the juvenile system’s primary aim is rehabilitation rather than punishment, juvenile defense lawyers play a critical role in advocating for services, treatments, and supports that can help their clients reintegrate into society. This might include educational programs, therapy, or community service opportunities.
- Representation at Detention Hearings: If a juvenile is detained, they have a right to a hearing to determine if their detention is necessary. Defense lawyers argue for their clients at these hearings, presenting evidence and arguments about why the juvenile should be released.
- Confidentiality: Juvenile records are typically confidential, but if not handled correctly, they can follow a youth into adulthood. Defense lawyers ensure that records are kept confidential and advise on potential expungement or sealing of records.
Common Juvenile Offenses In Colorado
Juvenile offenses refer to criminal acts committed by individuals not yet of legal adult age. In Colorado, there are several common offenses committed by juveniles. Here’s a list of some common juvenile offenses in Colorado, along with brief explanations:
1. Drug Offenses:
- Possession, sale, or distribution of controlled substances.
- Possession of drug paraphernalia.
- Using or being under the influence of drugs.
- Shoplifting: Taking items from a store without paying.
- Petty theft: Stealing property of low value.
- Grand theft: Stealing property of significant value.
- Defacing, damaging, or destroying property that belongs to another person or entity.
4. Underage Drinking:
- Possession or consumption of alcohol by someone under the age of 21.
- Consistent and unexcused absence from school.
6. Curfew Violations:
- Being out in public during designated hours in which minors are required to be indoors unless they have a valid reason.
7. Assault and Battery:
- Physically harming another individual or threatening to cause harm.
- Entering or remaining on property without the permission of the owner.
9. Sexual Offenses:
- Engaging in sexual activities without consent or when one party is below the age of consent.
- Leaving home without parental consent and refusing to return.
11. Driving Offenses:
- Driving without a license.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Reckless driving.
12. Weapon Offenses:
- Possession of a weapon on school grounds or in places where they’re prohibited.
- Use of a weapon in a threatening manner.
13. Gang-Related Activities:
- Participation in activities related to street gangs, which might include criminal behavior.
14. Tobacco Use:
- Purchasing or using tobacco products as a minor.
- Breaking into a building or structure with the intent to commit theft or another felony.
Legal Rights Of Juveniles In Colorado
Juveniles have specific rights when they’re involved with the justice system in Colorado. While the rights of juveniles are similar in many ways to the rights of adults, there are some unique protections and procedures for young people. Here’s an overview of the legal rights of juveniles in Colorado:
- Right to Remain Silent: Just as adults, juveniles can remain silent to avoid self-incrimination. This right is protected under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
- Right to an Attorney: Juveniles have the right to be represented by an attorney. The court will appoint a public defender or another attorney if they cannot afford one. This is a critical right, as the juvenile justice process can be complex.
- Protection Against Double Jeopardy: A juvenile cannot be tried or punished twice for the same offense. The U.S. Constitution also guarantees this protection.
- Right to Notification: Juveniles and their parents or guardians have the right to be informed of the charges against them. This allows them to prepare a defense adequately.
- Right to a Speedy Trial: This right ensures that juveniles do not spend undue time in detention awaiting trial.
- Right to Confront Witnesses: Juveniles can hear and challenge witnesses who testify against them in court.
- Protection Against Unlawful Searches and Seizures: Juveniles are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment. Any evidence obtained without proper procedure can be challenged and potentially excluded from court.
- Right to Appeal: If a juvenile or their attorney believes a mistake was made during the trial or adjudication process, they have the right to appeal the decision.
- Confidentiality: Juvenile records are typically more confidential than adult records. This protects the juvenile from long-term consequences and emphasizes rehabilitation over punishment. However, certain serious offenses might be exceptions.
- Right to a Detention Hearing: If a juvenile is taken into custody, they have the right to a prompt detention hearing to determine if continued detention is necessary. This helps ensure that juveniles are not held without cause.
- Protections in Interrogations: Colorado places strict rules on how law enforcement can interrogate juveniles. For instance, before any statements can be taken, the juvenile must be advised of their rights, and, in many situations, a parent or guardian must be present.
- Rehabilitation Over Punishment: While not a “right” in the traditional sense, the philosophy of the Colorado juvenile justice system leans towards rehabilitation over punishment. This means that the system aims to help juveniles become productive members of society rather than just penalizing them.
The Juvenile Court Process in Colorado
The juvenile court process in Colorado is designed to address offenses committed by individuals under the age of 18. While it shares some similarities with the adult court system, it strongly emphasizes rehabilitation rather than punishment. Here’s an overview of the juvenile court process in Colorado:
- Arrest or Referral: The process often begins when a juvenile is arrested by law enforcement or referred to the juvenile court by schools, parents, or community agencies. In some cases, law enforcement might release the juvenile to their parents with a directive to appear in court on a specified date.
- Detention Hearing: If the juvenile is detained and not released to their parents or guardian, a detention hearing must be held within 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays). This hearing determines whether the juvenile should remain in detention or be released, possibly with certain conditions.
- Filing of Petition: The prosecutor, often called the District Attorney (DA) in Colorado, reviews the evidence and decides whether to file a formal petition. This petition outlines the charges against the juvenile.
- Advisement Hearing: An advisement hearing is scheduled once the petition is filed. The juvenile and their parents or guardians are informed of the charges during this hearing. The juvenile will also be advised of their rights, including the right to an attorney.
- Preliminary Hearing: A preliminary hearing is held if the charges are severe and may lead to the juvenile being transferred to adult court. The judge reviews the evidence to determine if there’s enough to proceed.
- Transfer Hearing: In cases involving severe crimes, the DA may request a transfer hearing to determine if the case should be moved to adult court. The juvenile’s age, history, and offense are considered.
- Adjudicatory Trial: This is equivalent to a trial in the adult system. However, in the juvenile system, it’s a bench trial, meaning there’s no jury. A judge hears the evidence and determines if the juvenile committed the offense.
- Disposition Hearing: If the juvenile is found “delinquent” (the juvenile equivalent of “guilty”), a disposition hearing is scheduled. This is similar to a sentencing hearing in the adult system. The court determines the most appropriate rehabilitative measures, including probation, counseling, community service, or placement in a juvenile facility.
- Probation: Many juveniles are placed on probation, which means they are released to their community but must meet certain conditions, such as attending school, participating in counseling, or performing community service.
- Review Hearings: The court often schedules review hearings to monitor the progress of juveniles on probation or in placement. This allows the court to adjust the juvenile’s plan as needed.
- Sealing of Records: Once the juvenile has completed their sentence or probation and a certain amount of time has passed, they may be eligible to have their records sealed. This ensures that their juvenil
How To Build A Strong Defense For Juvenile Clients
Building a solid defense for juvenile clients in Colorado requires understanding the unique nature of juvenile law, the circumstances of the accused, and applying best legal practices. Here are some general strategies and steps that attorneys might consider:
1. Understand the Juvenile System:
- Colorado’s juvenile justice system prioritizes rehabilitation over punishment. This can be used to frame a defense that emphasizes the child’s potential for growth and change.
2. Detailed Investigation:
- Collect all facts related to the case. This includes police reports, witness statements, and any available surveillance footage.
- Investigate the circumstances of the arrest. Were the juvenile’s rights upheld? Was there probable cause for any searches or seizures?
3. Know the Client:
- Understand the client’s background. Are there any past traumas, mental health issues, or substance abuse problems that might have influenced their behavior?
- Gather character references and positive testimonials from teachers, community leaders, and others who can vouch for the juvenile.
4. Challenge Evidence:
- Examine the validity and reliability of the evidence presented by the prosecution. Is there room to challenge the authenticity, chain of custody or manner in which it was obtained?
- Examine the credibility of witnesses. Are there inconsistencies in their statements?
5. Diversion Programs:
- Many jurisdictions in Colorado offer diversion programs for first-time offenders or those involved in non-violent crimes. Completing these programs can lead to dropped charges. Explore if your client is eligible.
6. Negotiate with the Prosecutor:
- If there’s substantial evidence against the juvenile, consider negotiating for reduced charges or a plea deal that emphasizes rehabilitation, such as counseling or community service, over detention.
7. Emphasize Age and Maturity:
- Remind the court that juveniles lack the cognitive development of adults and are more prone to impulsive decisions without understanding the consequences.
8. Alternative Sentencing:
- Push for sentences prioritizing rehabilitation, like counseling, educational programs, and community service, rather than detention.
9. Ensure Confidentiality:
- Colorado law emphasizes the protection of a juvenile’s record. Ensure that records are sealed when appropriate to protect the juvenile’s prospects.
10. Stay Updated on Legislation and Case Law:
- Laws and regulations concerning juveniles can change. Stay updated to ensure you’re leveraging all possible defenses for your client.
11. Address Underlying Issues:
- If substance abuse, family issues, or other problems contributed to the juvenile’s behavior, address these in court and advocate for solutions like therapy or counseling.
12. Prepare for Trial:
- If the case goes to trial, prepare thoroughly. This includes practicing with your client for their testimony, preparing opening and closing statements, and anticipating the prosecution’s arguments.
Qualities Of An Effective Juvenile Defense Lawyer
When dealing with the complexities of the juvenile justice system in Colorado, it’s vital to have an attorney equipped with specific qualities tailored to the nuances of juvenile law. Here are the essential qualities of our juvenile defense lawyer in Colorado:
- Expertise in Juvenile Law: Juvenile law differs significantly from adult criminal law. Our lawyers thoroughly understand the state’s juvenile statutes, rules, and procedures.
- Empathy and Compassion: Juveniles are often facing the system for the first time, filled with fear and confusion. We understand these emotions and approach clients genuinely, making them feel understood and supported.
- Strong Negotiation Skills: Often, juvenile cases can be resolved through negotiation rather than trial. Our lawyers possess the ability to effectively negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges, diversion programs, or other rehabilitative measures is crucial.
- Adaptability: Each juvenile case is unique, with different family dynamics, school situations, and underlying issues. In our approach, we adapt to fit each client’s specific needs.
- Commitment to Rehabilitation: Emphasizing the importance of rehabilitation over punishment is essential in juvenile defense. We advocate for interventions that help the juvenile become a productive member of society, such as counseling or educational programs.
- Effective Communication: This involves communicating with the court, the juvenile, and their family. We break down complex legal concepts into understandable terms for their young clients and guardians.
- Investigative Skills: Gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and challenging the prosecution’s case are essential to building a defense. Our lawyers have keen investigative skills to ensure every detail is noticed.
- Relationship Building: Building relationships within the local legal community, including with judges, prosecutors, and probation officers, can be advantageous when advocating for a client’s best interests.
- Ethics: The highest ethical standards are respected by our attorneys as they work to defend the rights of juveniles and advocate on their behalf.
- Perseverance: Teens need to learn how to persevere when the odds are stacked against them. Our lawyers will persistently work, exploring all available avenues, to ensure the best possible outcome for their clients.
- Knowledge of Local Resources: Being aware of local counseling services, educational programs, and other resources can be invaluable when proposing rehabilitative measures or alternative sentencing.
- Cultural Sensitivity: Colorado is home to diverse communities, our lawyers are culturally sensitive, understanding the particular nuances and challenges that might arise from different backgrounds.
Why Choose Mike W. Moran?
Choosing the right attorney can make a significant difference in a juvenile case. Mike W. Moran brings extensive experience and a deep understanding of Colorado’s juvenile justice system. His commitment to providing quality legal representation distinguishes him from other defense lawyers in Colorado.
Moreover, Moran offers a free consultation to discuss your case and explain the potential defenses available. When your child’s future is at stake, you need a reliable and experienced advocate. Call Mike W. Moran today to secure the powerful defense your child deserves.