There is a good deal of evidence collected from studies, reviews, and surveys that suggests that heavy criminal penalties like years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines does little to nothing to stop crime overall. Even the individual offender who had to go to jail or lose their life savings as punishment generally does not “learn their lesson” and may recommit similar or identical crimes in the future. Until it can be said with utmost confidence that jail time and steep fines make a positive difference, most people would agree that harshly penalizing a juvenile offender in the same way is unnecessary or not ideal.
Due to this overall public and social notion that teens should not be subjected to adult penalties, the criminal justice system has actually adopted a separate system for juvenile convictions. The overarching theme is rehabilitation or behavioral correction. Rather than cracking down harshly on juvenile offenders and putting them behind bars, the idea is teaching them the errors of their ways in hopes that they will become more productive members of society.
Lenient penalties are reserved for minor juvenile crimes, such as shoplifting, vandalism, underage drinking, loitering, and some drug offenses. If a juvenile commits a particularly violent crime or a high-stakes offense, such as drug trafficking, they could be tried as an adult. Sentencing upon conviction would no longer be reduced or modified to reflect the age of the offender.
If you need help protecting your child from a harsh conviction, you should contact Castle & Castle. Our Denver criminal defense attorneys, Jim and Liz Castle, are also parents, so they understand what you are going through and know the level of dedication you require and expect. Call 303.800.3273 to request a free initial consultation with our team today.