What is Considered a Juvenile Crime in Georgia?

The law holds all people to a certain standard, even children. This is because it is possible for even children to commit crimes. When this happens, the law still holds them accountable for their actions. It is important to understand that these cases are handled differently than that of adults. Instead, they are considered juvenile crimes. When dealing with these situations, it is crucial to retain the services of an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney for assistance with the case. 

Who is a Juvenile?

It is an unfortunate fact of life that even children commit crimes. When this happens, it is known as a juvenile crime. In the state of Georgia, a juvenile is anyone between the ages of 13 and 17. 

Juvenile Case Proceedings

When a juvenile commits a crime, it is usually taken care of in juvenile court, adjudicated by a judge instead of a jury. The goal of these proceedings is to still hold children responsible for their actions and work towards rehabilitating them. This is in addition to prohibiting the individual from committing any further crimes. During the proceedings, the judge listens to the evidence that is presented by both the prosecution and the defense in order to determine if the juvenile is innocent or guilty of the crime they are accused. 

Consequences of Juvenile Crimes

If the child is found guilty of a crime, the judge will determine a proper sentence depending on the facts of their case. Sometimes, a child is simply deemed as a “child in need of services.” This may be the case if the individual was guilty of truancy, running away from home, loitering at night, or patronizing a bar without a guardian present. 

However, there are other cases in which the individual may be subject to imprisonment. This may be the case in the event of severe crimes such as Class A or B felonies. Class A felonies include kidnapping, aggravated battery or assault, arson, attempted murder, and more. These crimes result in up to 60 months in the Department of Juvenile Justice. Class B felonies include battery, robbery, arson in the second degree, attempted kidnapping, and more. This may result in a maximum imprisonment of 36 months.

Can a Child be Tried as an Adult?

It is important to know that, in the state of Georgia, there are some cases that may send a child into the custody of the Department of Corrections instead. This happens in the event that a child commits one of the seven deadly sins:

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

These cases are transferred to the superior court where the child is charged as an adult. The penalties seen in adult cases can include the loss of life, life in prison without parole, and life in a penal institution.

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