Atlanta Juvenile Manslaughter Defense Attorney
Juveniles charged with manslaughter can be tried as adults in Georgia.
Back in 2013, there was a story so shocking, it is still talked about today. A 13-year-old boy was practicing wrestling moves he saw on TV on his 5-year-old sister. Unfortunately, the moves went too far and the girl died as a result. The case happened in Louisiana, where the boy was sentenced to a juvenile detention center on murder charges.
The story, while tragic, is an interesting one. What happens to minors who are charged with manslaughter in Georgia?
Involuntary Manslaughter in Georgia
Georgia Code Section 16-5-3 defines all instances of involuntary manslaughter in the state, regardless of whether a person is an adult or juvenile at the time. Under the Code, involuntary manslaughter occurs when one person unintentionally and involuntarily kills another person.
The Code outlines different penalties for involuntary manslaughter depending on if the death occurred while the accused was committing an unlawful act or a lawful act. However, the penalties stated in the Code are applicable to adults. So, what happens when a juvenile is charged with involuntary manslaughter?
Juvenile Offenders in Georgia
In Georgia, the juvenile courts will preside over matters involving an accused minor under the age of 17. When a child is 18 years old or younger and is deemed depraved or unruly, his or her case may also be heard in juvenile court. Juvenile courts are designed to rehabilitate rather than punish juvenile offenders. As such, they work differently than adult state court.
After a child is accused of a crime, a juvenile court officer will investigate the case. The officer will determine whether to file a petition against the child. This procedure is similar to the indictment and accusation phases of crimes heard in state court.
Once the petition is filed, there is a hearing. At the hearing, the child can admit to the crime, or deny any involvement in it. If the child admits to the crime, the judge will issue a sentence. If the child denies involvement in the crime, a trial is scheduled.
Whether a child is tried in juvenile court or adult court depends on the circumstances of the case. Georgia lists seven deadly sins that are automatically transferred to adult court. These include murder, rape, armed robbery, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, aggravated sexual battery, and voluntary manslaughter.
Voluntary manslaughter in Georgia occurs when a person kills another person intentionally while under the influence of a violent and sudden passion. For example, if someone stole something from a juvenile and that juvenile became so enraged that he or she killed the person, this could be considered voluntary manslaughter. The juvenile would then be transferred to adult state court.
Most juvenile manslaughter cases involve involuntary manslaughter, a charge that is not one of the seven deadly sins in Georgia. However, this does not mean a minor is automatically tried in juvenile court. The juvenile courts have discretion to transfer a case to adult court, if they deem it appropriate.
Has Your Child been Accused of Manslaughter? Contact Our Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys for Help
If your child has been charged with manslaughter, the best hope you have is for your child to be tried as a juvenile. At Ghanayem & Rayasam, our Atlanta criminal defense attorneys have the experience necessary to persuade juvenile courts to try a case rather than send it to adult state court. We will prepare a solid defense for your child, so that he or she does not face the harsh penalties associated with manslaughter convictions. Call us today at (404) 561-0202 for your free consultation so we can begin discussing your case.