Juvenile delinquency law deals with crimes and offenses committed by children who are referred to as minors. The maximum age allowed for a case prosecuted in the juvenile court is seventeen for most juvenile offenses. If your minor child has been charged with a crime in juvenile court, the law requires that he or she be represented by an attorney.
Minors involved in juvenile court matters have most of the same rights adults would have if they were charged with a criminal offense. These rights include the right to remain silent, the right to cross-examine witnesses against them, and the right to require that the State prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. For most, juvenile court records are not open to the public. Juvenile court records are sealed, to prevent access to them by employers, colleges and the general public.
In recent years the approach of the adult court has become more focused on punishment than rehabilitation. Juvenile court has a somewhat different emphasis. The focus of the juvenile court is to ensure the welfare, safety, and guidance of minors, to preserve and strengthen the minor’s ties with the family when possible, and to reform youthful offenders, giving consideration to the safety of the public.
Juveniles are adjudicated delinquent minors if found guilty of an offense, as opposed to being convicted of a crime in adult cases. A juvenile adjudication will generally not be considered a conviction for a crime, for purposes of future job applications. In recent years, Georgia has made the emphasis of juvenile court more like that of adult court, with a focus on the punishment of young offenders in certain types of cases. More juveniles are being tried in adult courts. An experienced defense attorney can explain these issues in greater detail.
If a juvenile is found to be guilty of a crime or offense, he or she may receive court supervision, probation, or a sentence requiring them to serve time in a juvenile correctional facility. An experienced juvenile defense attorney can zealously defend the matter at trial or work with prosecutors to negotiate a resolution that provides for the least severe punishment, depending upon which approach is appropriate. Typically, the standard is what is in the best interest of the juvenile.
Your child deserves an experienced, respected advocate on their side to combat the seasoned County District Attorneys assigned to juvenile court. If your child is charged with a felony or misdemeanor in Cobb County, Forsyth County, or in any North Georgia Juvenile Court, call us today.