Juvenile Complaint and Referral

A law enforcement officer serves a Juvenile Complaint and Referral (JCR) on a juvenile (age 10 to under 18) if the officer has probable cause to believe the juvenile was involved in a criminal episode, either because he/she was apprehended in the act or as the result of an investigation. During the process of an investigation, a law enforcement officer may wish to interview a juvenile. If the juvenile is a suspect in the alleged crime, and is in police custody, the officer must have a parent/guardian present and read the basic Miranda rights (right to remain silent, to have an attorney present, etc.) to the juvenile and the parent/guardian. The juvenile and the parent/guardian are asked to sign the JCR. This acknowledgment does not constitute an admission of guilt. This is a promise to appear in the Juvenile Court if summoned to do so. Refusal to sign the JCR does not prevent the later filing of charges. Juveniles charged with committing a felony, class one misdemeanor, or any act of domestic violence are required to be fingerprinted by law enforcement.


The law enforcement officer may return the juvenile to the custody of the parent/guardian; however, the officer will transport the juvenile to the Detention Center if:
  • The parent/guardian cannot be located
  • The alleged crime was violent in nature
  • The juvenile has an extensive juvenile criminal record
  • The parent/guardian refuses to have the juvenile returned to their home
  • The juvenile used or possessed a deadly weapon
Once admitted to the Detention Center, the juvenile has a right to a detention hearing within 48 hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and Court holidays). The purpose of a detention hearing is to determine if the juvenile should continue to be detained. The Court can make one of the following orders:
  • The juvenile remains in detention if there is a finding that he/she is a danger to his/herself or the community. In all cases, criminal charges are to be filed within 72 hours by the District Attorney.
  • The juvenile may be placed on “tracking”, a detention alternative – house arrest with the juvenile allowed to leave home only to attend school or employment.
  • The juvenile may be placed out of the home by order of the Court through the Department of Human Services.
  • The juvenile may be released to the parent/guardian on bond – usually with strict rules concerning curfews, attendance at school, maintenance of a certain GPA, and following the rules at home provided by the parent/guardian.

    Filing Procedure

After law enforcement officers submit their reports to the the District Attorney’s Office, the charges may be handled in one of the following ways:
  • Referrals from law enforcement agencies are filed directly into the Juvenile Court System when the juvenile has a prior record, the crime was violent in nature, a weapon was used, or the allegations are that a sexual assault occurred.
  • First-time offenders who have committed nonviolent crimes are referred to the District Attorney’s Office Juvenile Diversion Program. If the juvenile denies involvement or fails to meet the conditions of the Diversion Program, the charges are returned to the Juvenile Prosecution Division for filing in the Court system.
  • If there is not sufficient evidence to prove top swiss replica watches beyond a reasonable doubt that the juvenile committed the crime alleged, the charges are not filed.
Petitions are served on the juvenile and parent/guardian in court on the date contained in the summons, or within 72 hours following a detention hearing.


The juvenile and parent/guardian are required to appear in Court. At that time the Judge advises them of their rights, the charges that have been filed, and the possible consequences. The juvenile and parent/guardian are asked if they wish to be represented by an attorney. The juvenile and his parent/guardian may hire a private attorney. An attorney can ensure that the juvenile’s rights are protected. An attorney can ensure that the District Attorney follows all of the proper procedure afforded to juveniles pursuant to the Children’s Code. If the juvenile requests it, the case may be tried before a Magistrate or a Juvenile District Court judge regardless of whether the charges are misdemeanours, felonies, or a combination of both. There is no right to a jury trial in juvenile court.


If the juvenile is found “guilty” or if the juvenile entered a plea of guilty, the Court will adjudicate the accused as “juvenile delinquent.” The Court then sets the case over for a period of time so that the Probation Department may prepare a Pre-Sentence Investigation report. This will include a recommendation for the appropriate consequence to the juvenile. The juvenile could be sentenced in a wide range from probation to detention or commitment in the Division of Youth Corrections. Jail may even be imposed for juveniles who are 18 or over at the time of sentencing.

Minor In Possession Of Alcohol (“MIP”)

Any person under twenty-one years of age who possesses or consumes alcohol anywhere in the State of Colorado commits illegal possession or consumption of alcohol by an underage person. Contrary to popular belief, the officer does not need to give the minor a breath/blood test in order to charge this offense. A conviction for this offense can carry fines, community service, alcohol classes and revocation of the minor’s driving license.


Expungement is a process under the Colorado Children’s Code where we request that your juvenile records be expunged (sealed from public access). Juvenile records remain accessible even if the case is closed, or dismissed, unless the Court has signed an Order of Expungement of Juvenile Records. This Order directs the Court to expunge your record, which means that you, the agency and the Court may properly indicate that no record exists.

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Causey and Howard helps clients involved with juveniles in the Colorado “High Country.” Causey & Howard, LLC represents clients in Eagle County, Summit County, Clear Creek County, Lake County, Garfield County and Pitkin County including the towns of Aspen, Avon, Breckenridge, Dillon, Eagle, East Vail, Eagle-Vail, Edwards, Frisco, Georgetown, Glenwood Springs, Gypsum, Leadville, Silverthorne, West Vail and Wolcott. *The information found on this website should not be construed as legal advice and is not a substitute for professional legal consultation. You should not base your legal decisions solely on the information found in this site and you are encouraged to seek the counsel of an attorney regarding your specific questions or situation. The information found herein may represent the opinions or commentary of the site editor(s) and is for informational or education purposes only. You agree by using this site that no attorney/client relationship has been formed between you and the attorneys, editors, owners, or participants in this site unless and until a written agreement has been signed between you and your attorney.

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