Georgia Juvenile Laws

Georgia Juvenile Laws

In Georgia, you are an adult for the purpose of criminal prosecution at the age of 17. However, O.C.G.A. §16-3-1 states that the minimum age for criminal prosecution is 13 years old because a child under the age of 13 cannot form the requisite criminal intent to commit a delinquent act. Georgia Juvenile Laws vary greatly from other criminal laws and it is important to understand them. A child facing criminal charges or delinquency proceedings needs the best representation possible. The juvenile laws in Georgia can be confusing so it is crucial to retain a Georgia Juvenile Lawyer.

Georgia Juvenile Topics

Disrupting a Public SchoolOccurs when a juvenile disrupts or interferes with a school bus, or school bus stop. 

Georgia Juvenile Court ProcedureJuvenile court has its own specific rules and regulations and we have outlined the process. 

Georgia Juvenile Search and Seizure: The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unlawful search and seizures and it also applies to juveniles. If a juvenile was searched illegally, then that evidence could be suppressed. 

Interrogation Rules Involving Minors in Georgia: If your child was interrogated, you need to make sure it was done legally or else their statements could be inadmissible in court. 

Superior Court Jurisdiction over JuvenilesThere are some situations where a child can be tried as an adult in Superior Court. 

Unruly, Truancy, and Runaway CasesThese are also known as CHINS cases and Georgia has its own particular laws relating to these types of cases. 

Can A Child Be Prosecuted As An Adult?

Yes, there are situations where a child will be prosecuted as an adult. Some of those situations include:

  • Murder
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Rape
  • Aggravated sodomy
  • Aggravated child molestation
  • Aggravated sexual battery
  • Aggravated battery
  • Armed robbery

Another way for a child to be treated as an adult in criminal cases is if the prosecutor petitions the Superior Court. This occurs in situations where the child is at least 15 years old at the time of the offense and the crime is one that would be a felony if committed by an adult.

Unruly and Delinquent 

An important thing to note about Georgia Juvenile Crimes is that juveniles are not found guilty of a crime. They are determined to be either unruly or delinquent. The State of Georgia deems a child “unruly” when they need supervision, treatment, or rehabilitation. O.C.G.A. § 15-11-2 states that a unruly child means a child who is

  1. Habitually and without justification truant from school,
  2. Habitually disobedient of the reasonable and lawful commands of his or her parents, guardian, or other custodian and is ungovernable
  3. Has committed an offense only applicable to a child;
  4. Deserts his or her home;
  5. Wanders or loiters about the streets between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 5:00 a.m.;
  6. Patronizes a bar;
  7. Possesses alcoholic beverages;
  8. Disobeys the terms of supervision contained in a court order; or
  9. Commits a delinquent act.

An adjudication of delinquency is the juvenile equivalent of when an adult is convicted of a crime. O.C.G.A. §15-11-2 states that a delinquent child means a child who has committed a crime under the laws of Georgia or another state and is in need of treatment and rehabilitation. Because the Court does not consider children to have the criminal intent to commit a crime, they are deemed delinquent instead of convicted. With delinquency, the court, defense attorney, and prosecution develop a plan to help restore the child to the appropriate behavior. Generally, the plan includes supervisor, treatment, and rehabilitation.

Will a Juvenile Conviction Transfer Over to an Adult Criminal Record?

The juvenile record will not carry over to their adult record as long as the offense was not charged as a designated felony.

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Juvenile proceedings can impact your child's opportunities and create restrictions for them long into the future.While juvenile laws may seem self explanatory, defending the charges can be quite difficult and require the expertise of a Georgia Juvenile Lawyer. Do not take a chance with your child's future. Contact our offices today for a free case evaluation.

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The time is now to start preparing your defense! Many times people lose the opportunity to put on their best defense because they wait. The importance of hiring a lawyer from the very beginning cannot be overstated! Waiting allows for witnesses to leave the area, evidence to be lost, and memories to fade. All of these have a direct effect on the successful on your case. The time to begin your case and start prepping your defense is now! Contact us today to put on your best Georgia criminal defense!