Friday, November 6, 2015

What are the Rights of Juveniles in Police Custody Colorado?

Like every other state in USA, Colorado has its own set of laws when it comes to juvenile delinquencies. It is not uncommon for children to commit a crime as they may become willing or unwilling participants of unruly activities. However, it is the duty of the law to see that they are corrected and instructed in the ways of the society and that they themselves learn to become responsible citizens on their own.

According to the Title 19 of CRS or Colorado Revised Statutes, the purposes of the Children's Code as set in the agreement are stated below: 

•    To make sure that each child gets his or her necessary provisions such as guidance and care, preferably within his/her own home that can best serve the interests of the child’s welfare and social interests;

•    To maintain and strengthen the family ties as and when possible along with improving the home improvement;

•    To separate a child from his or her parents’ custody only when the basic necessities of safety and welfare is endangered along with the protection of public interests; in both these instances the court has the authority to intervene and take legal decisions that is going to best serve the interests and needs of the child;

•    To make sure that any child separated from parental custody has necessary care, discipline and guidance that can help him/her to become a productive and responsible member of the society.

The Jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court 

The juvenile court holds exclusive jurisdiction over the delinquency proceedings of a child. Other areas that are covered by the juvenile court include: 

•    Child support;
•    School truancy cases;
•    Determination of parentage and paternity proceedings;     
•    Relinquishment of all parental and adoption rights;
•    Consent for the purpose of enlistment, consent to marriage and employment of child when consent is needed by the law;
•    For commitment or treatment of developmentally disabled or mentally ill children;
•    Guardianship or custody of children who are otherwise kept under the jurisdiction of juvenile court

Unlike popular belief, jurisdiction of juvenile court does not come to an end in the matters discussed above when a child turns 18, but continues as long as all court orders, pending cases or statutes of limitations have come to an end. To know more about this, it is advised that a person gets into contact with a professional juvenile defense lawyer who can provide more in-depth information regarding the same.

Rights of Juveniles in Police Custody Colorado

Miranda Rights 

When a child or a juvenile is kept in custody and police wants to interrogate him/her, the following rights should be stated to the juvenile, his/her parents, guardian, physical or legal custodian responsible for the care of the child:

•    The right to remain silent;

•    Any statement that is made by the child or juvenile can be used against him/her in the court of law;

•    The juvenile has the right to the presence of an attorney during interrogation if it is so requested during the time of the interrogation. In case the person is unable to afford a lawyer, the same will be appointed by the court.

This is commonly referred to as Miranda rights or Miranda warning. After this warning has been stated, a juvenile can be only questioned by police without the presence of his/her guardian, parent, physical or legal custodian if and only if the right for such presence is waived or given up in writing  by the juvenile and the adult responsible for acting on the behalf of the child. Once such rights are waived, anything that is learnt by the police during interrogation can be used against a juvenile in the court of law, even if no guardian or parent was present during the time of questioning.

Search and Seizure; Rights Associated with Consent to Search    

The juveniles who are not yet under arrest or in custody of the police can refuse to let police search or go through their personal belongings. The presence of the juvenile’s parent, guardian, or physical or legal custodian is not mandatory for him/her to consent to search. In many cases, police have carried out searches and found incriminating evidence, but later the question arose whether they had the consent to search or not. In such situations, a police needs to provide evidence to the judge that they had the consent to search by the juveniles, and that the juveniles were not placed in any kind of coercion or duress, either expressively or in any other implied manner and that consent was specific and unequivocal which was given freely and intelligently.

After a juvenile has been arrested properly, he or she can’t refuse a search conducted by the police. Any kind of evidence that is collected by the police can then be used against a juvenile. Nevertheless, law enforcement officials should have a proper warrant or successfully establish an exception to the necessity of a warrant needed for searching the juvenile’s belongings. It is absolutely necessary to determine the ownership of an item in question before search can be conducted. This is so because it then makes it clear whose consent is needed. For example, if an item is used by a child that is actually owned by the parent, then it is the consent of a parent that is to be attained prior to searching. Even if the juvenile does not consent to a search, the police can carry out a search in case it is approved by the parent.

The Importance of a Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney 
Juvenile crimes are needed to be dealt in a different way than adult cases, and therefore one needs to consult a proper juvenile criminal defense lawyer or attorney to assist in such cases. It is not possible for a layman to be aware of all the details associated with Colorado juvenile delinquency cases, and it is only in the best interest of the defendant that such a person be represented by an appropriate legal practitioner.