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Colorado has all kinds of laws on the books specifically aimed at juveniles, but there are some that get more use than others.
As a parent, this is incredibly important to know. It may not be possible to stop yourself from worrying about everything, but if you know which things are more likely to occur, you can focus your worries – and your prevention.
With that in mind, this list covers the most common juvenile crimes in Colorado and what to expect if your child is charged with one of them and is required to go through our juvenile justice system.
The top categories of juvenile crimes are listed below. Most of them probably won’t surprise you, but some may be eye-opening.
Alcohol offenses: underage possession and consumption, open containers in vehicles
Burglary: breaking and entering a home, school, or structure to cause damage or commit theft
Criminal trespass: entering stores after hours or after being banned, entering vacant buildings or structures without permission
Disorderly conduct: public brawls, indecent exposure, cursing at authority figures
Drug paraphernalia possession
False reports: setting off a fire alarm, making false calls to 911 or police
Fraud: impersonation, fraud via email, writing bad checks
Harassment: harassing by telephone, email, or social media; bullying, insulting, or taunting
Loitering: congregating with a group in a commercial parking lot, at a store front, or on a street corner
Mischief: damaging landscaping, damaging mailboxes, toilet-papering houses, egging homes or vehicles
Possessing a weapon: underage or illegal possession of pepper spray, pellet or BB gun, brass knuckles, or other weapons
Possessing stolen property
Reckless endangerment: hanging onto a moving vehicle, throwing items at moving vehicles, speeding in parking lots
Resisting an officer: lying to an officer, providing false information, running away, refusing to move
Runaway: staying at another person’s home without parent permission, traveling to another city or state without parent permission, leaving a non-custodial parent’s home
School violations: cheating, disrupting class, dress code violations
Simple assault: bullying or fighting
Theft: shoplifting, stealing from parents or classmates
Traffic violations: speeding, tailgating, distracted driving, failure to wear seat belt, failure to yield, riding in the back of a pickup truck
Unauthorized vehicle use: driving without a license, using another person’s vehicle without permission, unlawful use of all-terrain vehicles
Vandalism: graffiti, keying cars, slashing tires
The courts handle juvenile crimes differently from adult crimes. While adults receive criminal penalties for their crimes, the state aims to rehabilitate juveniles with alternative sentencing and treatment programs. Juveniles may be required to perform community service, complete rehabilitation and educational services, receive counseling, and pay restitution.
In some cases, like trespassing or vandalism, the juvenile may only be required to pay a fine and offer an apology to the victim. Other juvenile criminal acts will require rehabilitation in a juvenile detention center. Depending on the severity of the offense, a juvenile may even be tried as an adult. Most of the time this is for serious offenses like aggravated assault, rape, or murder, in which a juvenile thought and acted like an adult.
Since the juvenile justice system is so different from the adult justice system, you need the help of an experienced Denver juvenile crimes attorney. He or she will understand the intricacies of juvenile court proceedings and know how to put together the strongest possible defense for your child and aggressively fight for their future.
Call today to discuss your case with a skilled Colorado juvenile crimes lawyer who will make sure your child’s rights are protected.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.