Juvenile courts are intended for the prosecution and rehabilitation of youthful offenders. Juvenile court proceedings are held separately from adult proceedings, in different courtrooms with dedicated juvenile court judges. The focus of juvenile court is on correcting youthful behavior rather than on punishing children. Juvenile courts employ a strategy of gradually increasing punishments so that the kids before them learn that there are consequences to breaking the law, while still giving them a second chance to straighten up their act.
The laws surrounding Juvenile Crimes are very misunderstood. In Georgia, if you are over the age of 17 at the time of the alleged crime, then you will be prosecuted as an adult regardless of your alleged crime. If you are 16 years or younger, then your Juvenile Crime will be handled in the juvenile court. However, there is an exception to this rule for serious crimes. In Georgia, juveniles between the ages of 13 and 16 can be charged in Superior Court as an adult for the following crimes: Murder, Rape, Armed Robbery (with a firearm), Aggravated Child Molestation, Aggravated Sodomy, Aggravated Sexual Battery, and Voluntary Manslaughter. Juvenile Courts also deal with child behavioral issues, such as truant and unruly (disobedient) children.
It is important to keep in mind that even though Juvenile Court is not as punitive as adult criminal court, child defendants can still face years of incarceration for their crimes. This is all the more common as the “get tough on crime attitude” displayed in other criminal courts has filtered down to the juvenile courts in recent years. It is not uncommon for children charged with Juvenile Crimes to receive a harsher sentence than if they were in an adult court. Juveniles charged as adults can even receive sentences of up to life in prison.
At Ghanayem & Rayasam we understand that every Juvenile case is unique. Our goal is to provide you with the best possible options for resolving your child’s criminal matter with the least impact on their future. Please contact our firm at (404) 561-0202 to see how we can help you today.