According to experts, half of juvenile accused of crimes and considered indigent are not receiving adequate legal advice or representation from attorneys in Colorado. In the majority of cases juveniles have their cases resolved without ever meeting with legal counsel. This can include agreeing to plea deals.
This circumstance is not unique to Colorado. It appears that nationwide legal representation for juveniles is not gaining enough attention. Though a Colorado official believes the figure to be around 50 percent, juveniles not provided attorneys after being charged with an offense could actually be as high as 75 percent.
Sadly, there are too many cases for those in the business of juvenile criminal defense representation to take on. In many of these circumstances juveniles and their parents are waiving legal representation in hopes of resolving the problem quickly. However, juveniles may then be facing severe criminal penalties or lockup without ever being provided information regarding all of their legal options.
There simply are not enough attorneys qualified to represent juveniles in criminal defense matters. Of all individuals that are charged, juveniles are likely the ones that need legal representation more than anybody else.
If you are the parent of a juvenile charged with a crime, please contact an attorney that specializes in representing juveniles in court. Juveniles sometimes find themselves in circumstances without understanding the legal consequences. Often juveniles are charged with crimes and found guilty merely by association. Yet whatever sentence is handed down as the result of a criminal accusation may likely completely change the course of this young person’s life.
Source: Daily Camera, “Colorado lawmakers study legal aid for indigent juvenile offenders,” Ivan Moreno, July 30, 2013