Georgia treats crimes committed by juveniles, generally those between 13 and 17 years of age, very differently than they do to adults. At 17, a person is considered an adult in the criminal justice system.

However, it is important to take juvenile criminal charges of any kind very seriously as they can significantly affect a young person’s future – especially when applying to colleges and seeking employment.

If you have been charged with a crime and are a juvenile, or your child has been charged with a crime, contact a Cherokee County juvenile crimes lawyer that can review those charges, determine what legal defenses and juvenile mitigations may apply, and decide what course of action makes the most sense for you and your family. Seek the services of a capable criminal defense attorney and know that you are in good hands.

 Juvenile Justice Programs

Children between the ages of 13 and 17 are generally tried by a Georgia juvenile court and can be committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), rather than a traditional prison controlled by the Georgia Department of Corrections, upon conviction. The DJJ takes physical possession of the juvenile and makes periodic examinations for any improvement.

Juveniles in custody will generally not be discharged until the Department of Juvenile Justice files a petition with the court. How long a juvenile remains in custody depends on their behavior. Juveniles are often kept in custody when they are classified as unruly or delinquent, a repeat felony offender or a child felon sentenced as an adult.

Unruly Designation

While the latter two categories make discharge unlikely, it is important to understand the term unruly as it is distinguishable from felonies and can be a key element on whether a juvenile will be discharged.

To be characterized as unruly, a court must find that the juvenile meets one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Disobeys court order of supervision
  • Patronizes a bar or possesses alcoholic beverages
  • Committed offense only applicable to a child (under 17)
  • Ungovernable, habitually disobedient of reasonable commands
  • Deserts home, wanders or loiters in streets between midnight and 5 A.M.
  • Commits a delinquent act and needs supervision, treatment, or rehabilitation

However, juveniles convicted of felonies can be sent to traditional prisons (under the Georgia Department of Corrections) instead of facilities run by the DJJ. Hence, they are sentenced as adults.

Repeat Juvenile Offenders

In addition, juveniles who are repeat offenders are generally committed to prisons under the Department of Corrections. Any juvenile sentenced as an adult will typically serve time in a DJJ facility until they reach 17 years of age and are then transferred to a Georgia Department of Corrections facility to complete the rest of their sentence.

Juvenile criminal offenses must be taken seriously as they can affect the rest of someone’s life. An experienced Cherokee County juvenile crimes lawyer can make a big difference in fighting for a child’s rights.

How a Cherokee County Juvenile Crimes Attorney Can Help

If you have been charged with a crime and are a juvenile between the ages of 13 or 17, or your child has been charged with a crime, contact a Cherokee County juvenile crimes lawyer today to review those charges and determine what legal defenses and juvenile mitigations may apply to your situation.

Find out how an experienced juvenile crimes attorney can help you and your family today.