blog Criminal Defense Parental Rights During a Juvenile Arrest in Colorado

Parental Rights During a Juvenile Arrest in Colorado

By Colorado Attorney-at-law on June 9, 2021

Nothing is more nerve-racking than being called to a police station because your child was arrested. This can be especially distressing if you are on vacation here in Breckenridge and were hoping for a relaxing break. Whatever the situation may be, your first thought is to get your child home and safe before you start dealing with the legal ramifications of an arrest. Our team of criminal defense lawyers at Whitaker & Penix, LLC understands that you are going through a difficult time and are prepared to explain your legal rights as a parent when your child is arrested.

How Colorado Handles Juvenile Arrests

It is important to know that it is rare for a minor to face criminal charges for a crime. Colorado, like many other states, is focused on rehabilitating juvenile offenders and leading them away from criminal activities. Juveniles are only charged in adult courts when:

  • They are at least 12-years-old; and
  • Allegedly committed a Class 1 or 2 Felony; or
  • Allegedly committed a violent crime.

For non-violent crimes like shoplifting, vandalism, and even drug possession, a juvenile’s case will be handled by a juvenile court. A judge may sentence a child to probation, community service, or counseling. In general, the consequences of a juvenile arrest will lead to lighter penalties than for adults.

What Happens When a Minor Is Arrested?

If a Breckenridge police officer or Summit County sheriff suspects that your child has committed a crime, they may take them into custody and hold them at a local police station. The officer is required to inform you of the arrest as soon as possible. With minor crimes, your child will likely be released to you; however, if the charges involve an act of violence or weapon, then the police must detain your child, pending a detention screening and hearing.

During a hearing, a judge will review the charges against your child, his or her juvenile record, and screening results to determine if they will remain in the court’s custody (often in Juvenile Hall) or will be granted a pre-trial release. Pre-trial release often involves some type of restrictions, such as counseling, regular drug tests, home visits by local officers, and GPS monitoring.

Following a detention hearing, you and your child will need to attend a return file hearing where the district attorney will either choose to drop the charges, refer your child to a diversion program, or press charges. They may also offer your child a plea bargain during negotiations with your attorney or public defender, before your child’s case goes to trial.

What Rights Do Parents Have?

Police are required to inform parents if they have arrested or taken their child in for questioning. The moment you become aware that your child has been arrested, you should immediately contact a Summit County juvenile crime defense attorney. You have the right to employ the services of an attorney to represent your child during all proceedings. Our team at Whitaker & Penix, LLC can immediately begin working on your child’s case, including representing them during police questioning, advocating for them to be released to you, negotiating with the district attorney to have the charges reduced or dismissed, and building a defense against all juvenile charges.

What Rights Do Minors Have?

Like adults, minors have Miranda Rights, which include:

  • The right to remain silent
  • The right to refuse to answer questions
  • The right to an attorney during police questioning
  • The right to speak to an attorney before talking to the police
  • The right to stop answering questions at any time during questioning
  • The right to a court-appointed attorney if a juvenile’s family cannot afford one

Unlike adults, anything a juvenile says during questioning is not admissible in court unless a parent, legal guardian, or attorney is present. Juveniles may not fully understand their Miranda Rights, which means they cannot waive their right to remain silent on their own. This means that anything your child says before you arrive at a police station cannot be used against them in  court.

Who Should I Call if My Child Has Been Arrested?

If your child has been arrested in Summit County, you should immediately contact Whitaker & Penix, LLC. Our Breckenridge criminal defense attorneys have years of experience defending clients throughout Summit County and understand the intricate procedures at juvenile courts. We can discuss your child’s charges in a free phone consultation and provide strong legal representation throughout his or her entire case. Call us today at (970) 368-0602 to get started on your case.

Posted in: Criminal Defense