One of the more difficult experiences that a parent can be forced to endure is to learn that their child is being accused of a crime. All children above the age of 13 may be charged with a crime in the State of Georgia and depending upon the severity of the crime, may be sentenced to imprisonment as a youthful offender.

Less serious accusations may lead to the child being sent to a juvenile detention facility to both educate and protect the child. Of course, these actions can only be taken if a child is found guilty of a crime or is ruled to be a child in need of services. DeKalb County juvenile crimes lawyers represent children who are accused of crimes or are otherwise in danger of being labeled as a child in need of services. A skilled attorney works to defend these children against the charges at hand and to keep them at home where they belong.

Children in Need of Services

The less serious designation of troubled children is called “children in need of services.” These hearings are conducted at the request of any person who has direct knowledge of the child’s activities and may include police officers, school officials, or even prosecuting attorneys. According to GA Code 15-11-390, this complaint must contain allegations that the child has received help from their school and is still acting out. Examples of unruly behavior include:

  • Habitually missing school
  • Constant disobedience towards parents
  • Running away from home
  • Loitering after midnight
  • Patronizing a bar without a parent

No more than 10 days after the filing of the petition, a hearing must be held if the child is in custody. When the child remains at home, the hearing is held within 60 days. If this hearing determines that the child is indeed in need of services, the child may be returned home with conditions, be required to perform community service, or be placed in juvenile detention. To learn more, contact a Dekalb County juvenile crimes lawyer.

Designated Felony Acts

While the actions that may lead a child to be in need of services are usually minor, when a child commits an act that is a felony, the process changes. The offenses can include:

  • Armed robbery
  • Attempted murder
  • Trafficking in drug
  • Gang activity
  • Aggravated battery

In these situations, a conviction can lead to the child being placed into the general prison population as a youthful offender, despite the fact that they were under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed. However, the Georgia Youthful Offender Act, GA Code 42-7-2, allows some young people convicted of serious crimes to be placed into rehabilitative institutions where they learn vocational skills with the ultimate goal of meaningful change. If a child is convicted, this option may allow for a more constructive path forward.

Let a DeKalb County Juvenile Crimes Attorney Assist You

Despite children’s young ages, the State of Georgia can still prosecute them for crimes as long as they were at least 13 years of age when the crime is alleged to have taken place. For this reason, serious felonies carry the potential for the child to be sentenced to prison upon conviction. In addition, smaller crimes and general delinquency can result in the child being removed from the home and placed into State custody.

Either situation has the potential to negatively harm not just the child, but also the child’s family. DeKalb County juvenile crimes lawyers are here to help. They work to not just defend the child in formal criminal court, but also to represent children in administrative hearings intended to determine the child’s future upbringing. All parents should have the right to raise their child and children have the right to be raised in a loving home.