A 16-year-old driver in Forsyth County has been accused of crossing over the centerline, hitting a westbound traveling vehicle, and causing the death of a passenger.
According to reports, the passenger of the other vehicle, Manuel Oblea-Suarez was transported to Northeast Medical Center after the crash where he died.
The name of the teenage driver is not being released because he is a minor and the cause of the crash remains under investigation.
In the state of Georgia, a person who is seventeen years of age or above is legally considered an adult. If a sixteen year old commits a crime on the last day before his or her seventeenth birthday, he or she may still be treated as an adult - no matter what the crime is.
However, if the child is over the age of thirteen and commits a certain violent crime, he or she will be charged as an adult.
This is known as Superior Court Jurisdiction over Juveniles in Georgia. These offenses are also known as SB440 because Senate Bill 440 contained this jurisdiction statute (O.C.G.A. §15-11-560). These crimes include:
- Voluntary Manslaughter
- Armed Robbery
- Murder in the 2nd Degree
- Aggravated Sodomy
- Aggravated Sexual Battery
- Aggravated Child Molestation
- Aggravated Battery Upon A Public Safety Officer
There are three ways that an SB440 case can be transferred into a Georgia Juvenile Court.
- If the District Attorney in the Superior Court declines to prosecute the case, then the SB440 case is transferred to the Georgia Juvenile Court in the same county.
- If the District Attorney's Office fails to obtain an indictment within 180 days, then the SB440 case is transferred to the Georgia Juvenile Court in the same county.
- If the child is charged with voluntary manslaughter, aggravated sodomy, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sexual battery, or aggravated battery upon a public safety officer, and after indictment, the Superior Court has heard the evidence and decides to transfer the SB440 case back to the Georgia Juvenile Court in the same county.
Despite the fact that the above-mentioned charges against the Forsyth teenager are serious, this case will be handled in Georgia Juvenile Court since the charges do not include any of SB440 offenses.
This is just a brief rundown on Superior Court Jurisdiction over Juveniles in Georgia. If your child is facing the possibility of being tried as an adult in a Georgia Superior Court, you need to contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer as soon as possible. The difference between keeping a case in Juvenile Court is treatment and rehabilitation versus the potential years of prison time.