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This glossary provides definitions of some of the more typical expressions that you may come across. Please note that these definitions are meant to provide general guidance.

  • Absconding from Court Ordered Conditions: This refers to when the youth leaves the place in which he or she has been court-ordered to reside or the services he or she has been court-ordered to receive, without permission. Absconding from court ordered conditions is a violation of court conditions.
  • Adjudication: The juvenile equivalent of an adult conviction. It is a finding of guilt by the court.

  • Advisement: A court procedure formally advising the accused of certain statutory and constitutional rights. The advisement is delivered during the first appearance in court.

  • Advisement of Rights: 1.) A court procedure formally advising a person of certain statutory and constitutional rights. Such advisement must be given at the first appearance in court. 2.) A set of warnings which must be given to a person upon arrest.

  • Allege: To assert to be true without proving.

  • Appearance: The formal proceeding by which an offender presents him or herself to the jurisdiction of the court.

  • At-risk Adult: An at-risk adult is any person who is sixty (60) years of age or older or any person who is eighteen (18) years of age or older and is a person with a disability.

  • At-risk Juvenile: An at-risk juvenile is any person under the age of eighteen (18) who has a disability.

  • Bond: A type of security required by the court before an offender is released from custody. An accused may be released on his or her own promise (personal recognizance), by having a licensed bondsman post an agreement to pay a certain amount (bond) by personally depositing money in cash (bail), or by encumbering property (property bond). The court may allow the amount of bail posted in cash to be a percentage of the total amount of bail set; however, in the event of default, the entire amount of bail set is forfeited and becomes due to the state.

  • Bond Condition Violations: This is a violation of conditions that the youth must carry out before the adjudication hearing. These include violations of the periodic telephone communications, office visits, home visits, mental health and substance abuse services, domestic violence or child abuse counseling, electronic monitoring, work release, or day reporting, and day treatment.

  • Bond, Personal Recognizance (PR Bond): An obligation of record entered into before a court requiring the performance of an act such as appearing in court as instructed or penalty of money forfeiture.

  • Charge: The charge is the specific offense the youth is accused of committing.

  • Colorado Children’s Code: Title 19, Colorado revised statute. This code sets forth the definitions, jurisdiction, procedures, and powers in juvenile cases.

  • Crime against Persons: This includes any felony or misdemeanor crime directly committed against a person. These include manslaughter, murder, vehicular homicide, criminally, negligent homicide, assaults, menacing, criminal extortion, reckless endangerment, kidnapping, enticement, and unlawful sexual behavior.

  • Crime of Violence: If a youth commits a crime of violence, he or she usually goes to a secure detention. Crimes of violence include: any crime against an at-risk adult or at-risk juvenile, murder, first or second degree assault, kidnapping, sexual assault, aggravated robbery, first degree arson, first degree burglary, escape, and criminal extortion. This may also include felony unlawful sexual offenses.

  • Dangerous Weapon: A dangerous weapon includes a firearm silencer, machine gun, short shotgun, short rifle, or ballistic knife.

  • Deferred Disposition/Prosecution, Deferred Sentence: Some defendants are granted a deferred prosecution, which means that the judge and district attorney (DA) permit the accused person to delay going to trial for a period of time, usually one year. During this period, the accused is supervised by a probation officer, if the person complies with all the requirements of the deferred prosecution, the charges may be dismissed. A defendant who pleads guilty to a crime may be given a deferred sentence, which means the judge does not impose a sentence immediately but continues the case up to two years, placing the defendant under the Probation Department’s supervision. If the defendant complies with all the requirements, the charges against him will be dropped.

  • Delinquent/Delinquent Juvenile: A child ten (10) years of age or older, who violates any federal or state law, except State Traffic and Game and Fish Law, or any lawful order of the court made under the Colorado Children’s Code. This is the common term for a youth who commits an illegal offense.

  • Detention: Placing the child in a facility designed for minors. This is a secure facility designed to be a non-punitive facility and located as close to the minor’s home as possible.

  • Detention Hearing: A judicial hearing held within forty-eight (48) hours (excluding weekends and court holidays) after a child is taken into Temporary Custody to determine whether continued detention is necessary.

  • Dispositional Hearing: A judicial hearing at which time information is presented and reviewed along with recommendations for disposition. The conclusion is the court’s official disposition order.

  • District Attorney (DA): A lawyer elected of appointed in a specific district to serve as the chief or administrative prosecutor for the State in criminal cases.

  • Diversion: A decision is made by a person with authority or a delegate of that person that results in specific official action of the legal system not being taken in regard to a specific juvenile or child and in lieu thereof providing individually designed services by a specific program. The goal of diversion is to prevent further involvement of the juvenile or child in the formal legal system. Diversion of a juvenile or child may take place either at the pre-filing level as an alternative to the probation services following an adjudicatory hearing pursuant to section 19-2-907. “Services”, as used in this subsection (44), includes but is not limited to diagnostic needs assessment, restitution programs, community services, job training and placement, specialized tutoring, constructive recreational activities, general counseling and counseling during a crisis situation, and follow-up activities.

  • DYC (Department of Youth Corrections) Commitment: When a youth is committed to DYC, this means legal custody for the youth is transferred to DYC. DYC commitment occurs when a judge or magistrate sentences a youth for charges of delinquent acts.

  • Electronic Home Monitoring: This may be a condition under which the youth is released from custody. Electronic home monitoring means that the youth is required to be within a certain area and wear an electronic ankle bracelet that keeps track of whether the youth goes outside of that area (see Release with Services).

  • Expungment: The legal process whereby a child’s juvenile court record can be sealed upon request three (3) years after unconditional release from probation, ten (10) years upon release from Department of Human Services or parole.

  • Failure to Appear (FTA): FTA is a legal status that means the youth did not appear at a scheduled court hearing.

  • Felony: A felony is serious crime, regarded by the law as grave, and more serious than a misdemeanor. Felonies are usually punishable by a prison term.

  • Guardian Ad Litem (GAL): A person appointed by a court to look after the interests of a child in litigation.

  • Guardianship: The duty and authority vested in a person or agency buy court action to make major decisions affecting a child, which may include: consent of marriage, military enlistment, medical or surgical treatment, adoption when parental rights have been terminated, or representation of a child in legal actions.

  • Informal Adjustment: A type of disposition used primarily for first time offenders, which does not involve a court hearing. If the child admits the facts of the allegation (with parental consent), the child may be supervised for a period without being adjudicated.

  • Jurisdiction: The legal Power to hear and decide cases; the territorial limits of such power.

  • Juvenile Detention and Screening Guide (JDSAG): The instrument used statewide to determine the appropriate level of detention for youth in the custody of law enforcement.

  • Local Policy: This refers to the policies within each judicial district that indicate when an override of a “screaming tree” decision is necessary. These local policies are almost always authorized by the local courts.

  • Mandatory Hold Factors: Some factors absolutely require that the youth be held in a secure detention. These factors include: current crime of violence, use of a firearm during commission of a felony offense against a person, and possession of a dangerous weapon or illegal weapon.

  • Misdemeanor: A misdemeanor is a crime less serious than a felony. Minor theft (of articles worth less than a certain amount), first-time drunk driving and leaving the scene of an accident are all common misdemeanors.

  • Municipal Court: Courts whose territorial authority is confined to the city or community.

  • Personal Recognizance (PR): Security for the appearance of a criminal defendant, in the form of a personal promise without posting any bail or filing a formal bond.

  • Petition: A formal application in writing made to the Court, requesting judicial action concerning some matter therein set forth.

  • Placement: A placement is a residence in which the child has been formally placed. Examples include foster care and Residential Child Care Facilities (RCCF).

  • Plea: The defendant’s formal response to criminal charges. If a defendant stands mute, the judge will enter a plea of not guilty for the defendant. Examples are: guilty, not guilty, nolo contendere, not guilty by reason of insanity.

  • Probation Violation: A probation violation occurs when the youth does not comply with what he or she is required to do according to his or her probation agreement. Example of probation violations include: new offenses while on probation, not reporting to a probation officer, not paying restitution, and failing to complete useful public services.

  • Probation: A sentence alternative to incarceration, whereby an adjudicated juvenile may be released under certain conditions and under the supervision of a probation officer for a specific time. In some cases, a short detention sentence or “work release” program is combined with the probation.

  • Public Defender: An attorney, system of attorney’s, funded by the state, to represent indigent persons in criminal or juvenile cases.

  • Release Conditions: This occurs when the youth is awaiting court appearances and includes conditions such as: pretrial supervision, home detention, pending detention hearing, promise to appear, and electronic home monitoring.

  • Release to Parent or Guardian: This occurs when the youth who has been taken into temporary custody is released into the care and supervision of a parent or other responsible adult.

  • Release with Services: This occurs when the court decides that a youth may be released from custody on certain conditions, such as electronic home monitoring and periodic reporting.

  • Revocation: A court order rescinding or withdrawing a previous court order. When a person on probation has violated one or more of the terms and conditions of probation, a petition to revoke probation or modify the terms and conditions may be filed with the court. If the allegations are proven, the judge may modify the terms of probation or revoke probation and exercise any of the dispositional alternatives, including commitment to the Division of Youth Corrections.

  • Risk Assessment Scale: A tool to assist in predicting continued criminal activity. The primary factors considered are; criminal history, stability, substance abuse and employment.

  • Runaway: This refers to when the youth unjustifiably leaves his or her designated living setting, usually overnight, one or more times. If the youth left those settings because of justifiable reasons (for example: if he or she is in danger), the instance should not be considered runaway.

  • Screener: This refers to the person appointed by the judge or court to recommend whether a juvenile who is in temporary custody should be released or admitted to a detention or shelter facility.

  • Screening Guide: This is the common term for the juvenile Detention Screening and Assessment Guide (JDASG), which is used to screen and access youth who have been picked up and detained by law enforcement in the juvenile justice system. It is also commonly referred to as the Screening Tree and Screen.

  • Screening Team: The person or persons designated by the chief judge in each judicial district or, for the second judicial district, the presiding judge of Denver Juvenile Court to make recommendations to the juvenile court concerning whether a juvenile taken into temporary custody should be released or admitted to a detention or shelter facility.

  • Self-Harm: Self-harm means putting oneself at risk of injury or death. Examples would include cutting behavior, running from placements, and severe substance abuse.

  • Serious Habitual Offender/ Directed Intervention (SHODI): This status refers to a list of known juvenile offenders who are to be arrested and detained if found breaking the law. It is applicable to jurisdictions with formal programs operating in the law enforcement community.

  • Summons: A notice requiring a person to appear in court on a specific day at a specific time. The summons is returned to the court to reflect that the person was served with it.

  • Threats to Harm: These include verbalization and gestures that would alert any reasonable person to the possibility of being harmed.

  • Warrant: A warrant is a written order issued by a judicial official authorizing an officer to perform a specified act required for the administration of justice.