Minor Criminal Offense
When adults commit offenses, the criminal justice system prosecutes and incarcerates them. But what happens when an underage individual commits a criminal offense?
The justice system has set aside specific rules and regulations to handle juvenile offenses, which are usually sensitive. For example, in Georgia, the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice provides a system for handling such cases to ensure the child’s future.
As juvenile cases have increased over the years, it is more important than ever to have a qualified juvenile defense attorney handle your case while maintaining your child’s confidentiality.
Juvenile Rights in Georgia
Georgia protects minors facing criminal charges. It is usually the duty of all involved, including judges, prosecutors, and criminal defense lawyers, to protect the child’s rights.
The protection that juveniles are given is as follows:
When the police are questioning a juvenile, a parent or legal guardian should be present.
The Supreme Court of Georgia holds that a legal guardian should be present when a child waives their fifth amendment right.
Confessions from juveniles are considered only when the child waives their rights voluntarily, whether they understand their rights, and if a legal guardian was present during their interrogation.
The juvenile court system ensures that a child’s case is treated fairly. Georgia provides the following set of rights that a juvenile has during the court process:
In Georgia, juveniles have the following rights:
The right to a juvenile defense attorney
The right to plead not guilty if they so wish
The right to remain innocent until proven guilty in a court of law
The right to present evidence that supports their defense in a case
The right to remain silent during the arrest and court proceedings without their silence being used against them
The right to appeal if they are found to be guilty
Process of the Juvenile Justice System in Georgia
This process guides the conduct of all involved in a juvenile case, including prosecutors, judges, and juvenile attorneys. The process is as follows:
- The tendency of delinquent behavior: It is usually the first occurrence of delinquency with troubled youth, and minors may get off with a warning. An arrest may not be necessary at this stage.
- The minor’s arrest: A police officer may make an arrest due to a referral from educators or guardians of the minor due to an alleged offense. It is at this point that they enter the juvenile justice system.
- Intake or diversion of the juvenile case: Attorneys in the prosecutor’s office decide if the juvenile should be formally processed in juvenile court (intake) or handled out of court informally (diversion program).
- Transfer or waiver of the juvenile case: For a minor that has been processed formally and has committed a serious criminal offense, a transfer or a waiver out of juvenile court can be made for the juvenile to stand trial in an adult court system. You can contact an Atlanta criminal lawyer who will defend your case vigorously.
- Detention: The judge may order pre-trial detention for minors deemed dangerous to society. However, they can remain at home while waiting for their adjudication hearing if they are not considered dangerous.
- Adjudication: In this stage, a juvenile court judge makes a ruling based on the evidence brought forward by prosecutors and defense attorneys. It is important to note that a jury is not involved in a juvenile court.
- Disposition hearing: The judge reviews an intervention plan set by a probation officer, hears additional input from the prosecution, attorneys, and family members of the minor, and makes a disposition of the case.
- Juvenile sentencing: The juvenile can either be sentenced to probation which is community service, or placement in a residential juvenile facility. You will often find that most juvenile cases are misdemeanors, and a misdemeanor lawyer can help you avoid an extended stay in juvenile detention.
- Aftercare: This is where the young person is supported as they prepare to reintegrate back into the community.
If you need help understanding the juvenile justice process in Georgia, you can reach out to an experienced juvenile defense lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia. When doing this, you will know how best to care for your minor.
How a Georgia Juvenile Defense Attorney Can Help You
The following are the ways in which a juvenile defense attorney can help you:
- A good juvenile defense lawyer will treat your case in the child’s best interest and in line with the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.
- They will also ensure that the child’s rights are upheld during the juvenile process.
- They have extensive knowledge of Georgia juvenile laws as well as federal juvenile laws.
- For felony charges against a minor, a juvenile defense lawyer will prepare a defense that ensures that the child has a fair trial despite being tried as an adult. It is best to consult with a felony lawyer in Atlanta to handle your felony case to ensure effective legal representation.
- They use their knowledge of the juvenile justice system to help a juvenile have criminal defense legal representation and resources at their disposal.
- A defense attorney will also maintain a healthy attorney-client relationship.
Get Free Consultation for Your Juvenile Criminal Defense Case
If you are faced with a possible juvenile conviction, contact a qualified criminal defense attorney in Georgia at Chehimi Law LLC. They will prepare a defense strategy tailored to your specific circumstances.
You will get a free consultation and have legal counsel on what steps you should take to help get lesser consequences of juvenile convictions.
What Is the Youngest Age to Go to Juvenile Detention?
Most states specify a minimum age of 14, though it differs for every state. The youngest criminal record case was ten years old. However, in Georgia, anyone under 17 years can be changed and tried as a juvenile.
How Long Do You Stay in Juvenile Detention?
This will depend on the seriousness of the juvenile offense and the child’s age. But a qualified juvenile defense attorney will work hard to ensure that whatever juvenile detention is ordered, it is minimal.
What Is the Most Common Sentence for Juvenile Offenders?
When a juvenile offender is given a disposition, they are usually committed to probation. Nearly all juvenile cases end up on probation instead of being sent to a juvenile detention center. Of course, this depends on the severity of the case itself and the facts.