Marietta Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer
Your son or daughter was accused of a crime. What happens to them now? Are they treated like an adult? Are they sent to prison?
Georgia has very specific laws when it comes to juvenile delinquency, but any criminal activity can have serious consequences for young people. A criminal record can affect their education opportunities and their future, in general, and some offenses can even lead to jail time. That’s why it’s so important to hire a criminal defense attorney to fight for your child’s freedom.
What constitutes juvenile crime?
If a young person is accused of a crime, the State typically sends them to juvenile court. Juvenile courts attempt to focus less on the punishment aspect of sentencing and more on rehabilitation of the child to ensure they still have a good future ahead of them.
For this reason, juvenile cases almost always allow expungement. In other words, after a juvenile has finished the sentence or treatment, they can ask to have their criminal record sealed from the general public.
Most juvenile cases are tried before a judge, not a full jury, and the judge alone makes the decision for the juvenile’s fate. Findings by juvenile court are considered adjudications, not convictions. Nonetheless, having a dedicated defense attorney with experience in juvenile court is vital to helping your child and their future.
Juvenile crimes in GA
Even if a child serves very little time for their juvenile offense, there are serious consequences to crimes that wind up in juvenile court. Young people can experience barriers to education, employment, and their social life, and if the crime is serious enough, their conviction cannot be expunged.
Judges classify juvenile cases in Georgia into one of three categories:
- Children in need of services
- Felony crimes
- Crimes that require imprisonment
Children In Need of Services
For children in “need of services,” their crimes are the types of crimes that can only be committed by juveniles, or crimes that complicate their home life or education. These instances can include:
- Running away from home
- Possession and consumption of alcohol or cigarettes
- Breaking curfew
Georgia classifies more serious juvenile acts as Class A and Class B felonies.
Class A felonies are more serious, and they include:
- Attempted murder
- Arson (1st degree)
- Aggravated assault (with serious bodily injury)
- Aggravated battery
- Armed robbery (no firearm)
- Hijacking a motor vehicle
- Home invasion (1st degree)
- Criminal gang activity
- Drug trafficking
- And others
Class B felonies include, among others:
- Arson (2nd degree)
- Aggravated assault (without serious bodily injury)
- Home invasion (2nd degree)
- Attempted kidnapping
- And others
Conviction of any of these charges – Class A or Class B – can result in serious jail time for a juvenile, as well as the long-term consequences of a felony conviction.
Crimes That Lead to Imprisonment
For juveniles who commit very serious crimes that would have far-reaching consequences for adult offenders, Georgia law has specifications for their sentencing:
- If a juvenile is convicted of what would be considered a felony in regular court, and then is actually convicted of a felony in regular court, he or she will be committed as a youthful offender.
- If a juvenile is convicted of a felony that would be punishable by death or life in prison in regular court shall be sent to the Department of Corrections for custody.
There are also specifications for juveniles who become “adults” during their sentence. For these young people, a judge must decide whether, when the juvenile turns 17, to reduce their sentence, send them to probation, or transfer them to the Department of Corrections to finish their sentence in adult prison.
If your child or a juvenile you know has been charged with a crime, it’s vital to hire a defense attorney who has experience with juveniles as soon as possible. Our legal team at the Frye Law Group is ready to fight for your child for the just result that they deserve. Give us a call today.
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