Exciting law changes were passed by the Colorado legislature in March 2012 that change the way juveniles go through the justice system. Prior to the law change, prosecutors had the sole discretion of whether to detain juveniles in adult jails or juvenile detention facilities up through trial. House Bill 1139 now requires juveniles be kept at juvenile detention facilities, even if they are to be tried as an adult. They can only be moved to an adult facility if the juvenile detention facility petitions the court for a transfer, and the judge approves this at a hearing.
Prior to new law changes, the district attorney had sole discretion whether or not to “direct file” or charge the juvenile as an adult. House Bill 1271 limits direct file to youth 16 years of age or older who are accused of the most serious and repeat offenses. Youth who are direct filed can request a reverse transfer hearing and ask a judge whether his or her case should remain in adult court or be transferred back to juvenile court. This bill also changes the sentencing of juveniles. Youth who are convicted of crimes of violence are not subject to mandatory minimum sentences, and youths convicted of misdemeanors must be sentenced as a juvenile.
When a juvenile is charged with a crime, it is important to contact an attorney who understands the new law changes and the options present for resolving a case. Mr. Louth handles juvenile cases ranging from petty offenses to more serious charges where the district attorney is seeking to charge the juvenile as an adult. Not understanding all the juvenile’s rights and options can have lifelong drastic implications for his or her entire life. Contact the Law Office of Steven Louth for a free consultation.