Colorado Diversion Program
Every parent’s nightmare is the call late at night from their teen saying they have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). It certainly is no one’s intent that such events occur, but many acknowledge that experimentation with alcohol and drugs is a common rite of passage for teenagers.
That said, criminal charges against young people for such offenses can impair them significantly for the remainder of their lives. A moment of indiscretion can impact their ability to get into college, get a college loan, or get a job.
This is why Colorado offers first time, non-violent offenders a Juvenile Diversion program. The intent and effect of the program is to keep younger people out of the detention system where they might slip into more habitual and long-term criminal behaviors.
The program has been working since the 1970s and found to be effective in several regards:
- Repeat offenses are less likely. First-time offenders are kept out of a system that otherwise introduces criminals to each other.
- Stigmatization is reduced. The juvenile does not need to be incarcerated for an extended period of weeks or months.
- Reduced costs on the Colorado penal system. Individuals that are no danger to society are allowed to serve from the family home.
As should be evident, the state’s judicial system wants to channel young people into the diversion program as much as possible. Each offender needs to meet certain criteria relative to the alleged offense itself (violent crimes are excluded), age at the time of infraction, general character and conduct, and previous records. Importantly, the accused must admit responsibility for the infraction.
This program is the wake-up from the nightmare that parents appreciate, but to navigate through the legal requirements, it is essential to contact a criminal defense attorney in Denver to protect children's rights.