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Juvenile Law Attorney in Denver, Colorado

If your child has been charged with a crime, you might be wondering what you should do next. It’s natural to feel frustrated, or even completely overwhelmed. The most important step you can take is to speak to a criminal defense attorney who can work with you and your child to craft the best defense possible.

If your child has been charged as a juvenile in Colorado, you have options. Reach out to us at Attorneys at Law Timlin & Rye, P.C. in Denver to get started. 

Delinquency Under Colorado Law  

According to Colorado law, a “delinquent” act is any law-violating act that comes under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court system. Minors are considered juvenile delinquents if they are under eighteen years of age and commit a delinquent act. Some common juvenile crimes include vandalism and shoplifting, but can also include violent crimes.  

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How the Process Works 

Contact With Law Enforcement

When a minor is arrested, they will be read their Miranda rights. The juvenile cannot be questioned by police until they are in the presence of a parent or guardian, unless they voluntarily waive this right. If your child is arrested, you should make sure that they do not say anything until you and your child’s attorney arrive.

Release or Detention

Your child will be evaluated and a decision made about whether to admit them to a detention or shelter facility. (Children who are 10-13 years old can’t be placed in detention unless they have committed certain felonies.) If your child is not considered to be a danger to themselves or others, it is likely they will be permitted to remain at home with you until their next court date.

Detention Hearing 

If your child has been detained, your child has the right to a detention hearing that will usually take place within 48 hours of their arrest. At this hearing, a judge will hear the charges and decide whether or not to keep your child in detention. The judge will either: 

  • Release your child into your custody. They might require a bond to be posted and they might also require your child to follow certain rules, such as wearing an ankle monitor.  

  • Place your child into a shelter facility. 

  • Maintain that your child should remain in detention.  

Juvenile Advisement Hearing 

At this point, one of three things will happen:

  • The judge will order an “informal adjustment.” This means that no charges will be filed but that the child must comply with conditions set by the judge, such as attendance at counseling or substance abuse treatment as well as the paying of fines.  

  • The judge may divert the case for certain offenses, especially for first offenders. This is an outcome similar to an “informal adjustment.” A diversion program may include required counseling and community service work. 

  • A petition of delinquency will be filed with the juvenile court and the judge will decide to move forward with the case.  

If the judge decides to move forward, your child will attend a Juvenile Advisement Hearing. At this hearing, your child will typically enter a plea. Depending on what your attorney advises, your child can either enter into a plea bargain—pleading guilty in exchange for a comparatively lighter sentence than they would have received if they had been found guilty at trial—or plead not guilty, in which case the trial may go ahead.


At the trial—called an “adjudicatory hearing” for juvenile court cases—your child’s attorney will make your child’s case to the judge and answer the prosecution’s arguments. If found not guilty, your child will be released. If found guilty, your child will attend a sentencing hearing.

Sentencing Hearing  

At the sentencing hearing, the judge will hand down a sentence or “disposition.” In Colorado, sentences could include: 

  • Commitment to the Department of Human Services (DHS) for at least two years and not more than seven years (depending on the seriousness of the offense), with six months of mandatory parole 

  • Commitment to jail if the juvenile is 18 or older when sentenced 

  • 45 days in a detention facility 

  • Placement with a relative, other suitable guardian, or with social services 

  • Probation 

  • Placement in a hospital or treatment program 

  • Payment of a fine 

  • Payment of restitution to victims 

When a Juvenile Can Be Tried as an Adult  

Juveniles aged 12-17 in Colorado can be tried as adults if they commit certain felonies, such as sexual assault and other violent or sexual crimes. The judge can either transfer the case from juvenile court to the adult criminal court, or prosecutors can begin the process by pressing charges in the adult court at the beginning of the process.  

Colorado Parental Responsibility Laws 

In addition to the above, you’ll want to review Colorado’s parental liability laws with an attorney. Colorado holds parents financially liable for their child’s actions until they turn 18. Parents can be held responsible for covering costs related to property damage, theft, and bodily injury caused by their minor child. Usually, the cap for property damage and bodily injury costs per victim is $3,500.  

Juvenile Law Attorney in Denver, Colorado

If your child has been charged as a juvenile in Colorado, call us at Attorneys at Law Timlin & Rye, P.C., serving Denver as well as throughout Adams, Arapahoe, Jefferson, and Douglas Counties. Our attorneys Jeffrey J. Timlin, Melissa J. Rye, and Katherine Karstetter are here to support you and your child throughout your case. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today for a consultation.