Depending on the events and circumstances surrounding a case involving a juvenile accused or charged with a crime, trying the case in an adult criminal court rather than a Colorado juvenile court could increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome. Only a seasoned Colorado criminal defense attorney with a proven track record with juvenile court cases can best decide which would be the better option for his minor defendant.
A juvenile tried in adult court has the right to a jury, a right he would not have in juvenile court (in most states). Juries in adult court tend to be more sympathetic to a minor defendant. Juvenile cases may be disposed of more quickly and the sentences imposed may be lighter in adult court, especially in jurisdictions where jails and dockets are crowded. Trying a juvenile in adult criminal court, however, is not without serious potential downsides.
A juvenile defendant in adult court is subject to harsher sentences, including life imprisonment. Juvenile court offers a wider range of treatment and punishment options, such as counseling or imposition of a curfew, for juvenile offenders than adult court does. Being convicted as an adult carries more social stigma than being convicted in Colorado juvenile court. It is easier to have a juvenile court record sealed or expunged than it is for adult criminal records. In the state of Colorado, the record of a juvenile charged or convicted as a adult cannot be sealed or expunged.
A Colorado criminal defense attorney will present both the pros and cons of having a juvenile tried in adult criminal court instead of juvenile court, as well as potential outcomes of either scenario. He will advise of the best option for the youth offender while ensuring that his rights are protected through the legal process.