Has Your Child Been Charged with a Juvenile Offense in Georgia?
Does Your Child Have a Court Date in a Georgia Juvenile Court?
In Georgia, if you are under the age of 17, you are considered a juvenile under the law. Juveniles are deemed to not have developed the criminal culpability required to commit a crime, so they cannot be prosecuted in the legal system. Instead, the state has developed distinct juvenile courts that handle both status offenses and delinquent offenses. “Status offenses” are those acts that are contrary to the laws of this state for young people by virtue of their classification as a juvenile.
For example, unruly behavior at home, running away, failing to attend school, etc. are acts that are prosecuted in juvenile court but which are not criminal or delinquent in nature. However, a juvenile judge has the power to remove an offender from his or her home, place them on probation, or order other sanctions like classes or community service if he or she deems the behavior unacceptable.
The more serious cases in juvenile court are those that would be criminal acts if the accused offender was older, but are labeled “delinquent” offenses in the juvenile system. These could be offenses like DUI or Underage Possession of Alcohol or even very serious offense like possession of drugs or burglary. While the juvenile's criminal record is protected by virtue of being prosecuted in the juvenile court system, the punishments can be severe and include incarceration in a juvenile detention facility, probation, fines and regular drug testing.
We Can Help Your Family- Your Child Deserves a Fresh Start and a Fair Chance at Life:
No young person should start life with strikes against them. Our office has dedicated juvenile lawyers that can help make sure your child is treated fairly. Great care needs to be taken especially in Juvenile DUI cases. Richard Lawson has been handling Georgia Juvenile Cases for more than 25 years. He is a former Georgia Juvenile Court Prosecutor. Kimberly Berry was a former Georgia Juvenile Court Public Defender with over 10 years of experience handling cases in Georgia Juvenile Courts. Our reviews can be found on AVVO.
Even if a case is kept off the juveniles criminal record, it can still be on the the child permanent drivers record (that can be seen my schools and potential employers). That is why great care and attention is needed. Our office is dedicated to Georgia Juvenile Defense. Call now for immediate legal attention. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, weekends, and holidays. Our office has dedicated Georgia Juvenile Lawyers. Our Georgia Juvenile Attorneys know how to protect your child and your family.
The Mission Of the Georgia Juvenile Court System:
The mission of the Juvenile Courts in the State of Georgia is to ensure that each child that comes before the courts receives the attention, assistance, and care that is in the best interest of the child and the citizens of the State of Georgia.
Georgia Juvenile Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over juvenile matters and any action concerning any child who is alleged to be delinquent, unruly, deprived, in need of treatment or commitment as a mentally ill or mentally retarded child, to have committed a juvenile traffic offense, or who has been placed under the supervision of the court or on probation to the court; provided, however, that such jurisdiction shall be for the sole purpose of completing, effectuating, and enforcing such supervision or a probation begun prior to the child's seventeenth birthday.
The Juvenile Courts in Georgia also handle proceedings for obtaining judicial consent to the marriage, employment, or enlistment in the armed services of any child if such consent is required by law; for the termination of the legal parent-child relationship and the rights of the biological father who is not the legal father of the child; proceedings relating to prior notice to a parent or guardian relative to an unemancipated minor's decision to seek an abortion; and certain criminal offenses committed by juveniles. O.C.G.A. § 15-11-28. The Superior Court also transfers cases or portions of cases to Juvenile Court involving child custody and child support.
The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for a child who is a party to the proceeding if the child has no parent, guardian, or custodian appearing on the child's behalf or if the interests of the parent, guardian or custodian appearing on the child's behalf conflict with the child's interests or in any other case in which the interests of the child require a guardian. O.C.G.A. §15-11-9(b). A guardian ad litem will be appointed in any termination case and should be appointed by most courts in any deprivation case.
Georgia receives funds under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (PL 23-274)(1974), which requires that children involved in court proceedings because of allegations of abuse or neglect must have a guardian ad litem appointed to their cases. The term “court appointed special advocate” means a volunteer who has been screened and trained regarding deprivation, child development, and juvenile court procedures and has been appointed as a guardian ad litem by the court in a deprivation case.
The guardian ad litem must be both an advocate for the child and an investigator for the court. The guardian ad litem should act as an independent fact finder and interview the child, parents, social workers, teachers, and other persons involved to ascertain the child's circumstances. The guardian should also seek cooperative resolutions to the child's situation and monitor implementation of service plans and dispositional orders to determine whether services ordered by the court are actually provided in a timely manner, and are accomplishing their desired goal.
Many Juvenile Courts in Georgia offer some form of a Youth Diversion Program for youths that have committed criminal or “status” offenses. Of the almost 48,000 cases referred to Juvenile Court in 2011, approximately half were diverted. Juvenile Justice Decision Points for All Counties in Georgia for 2011. For more information, see http://juveniledata.georgia.gov/Reports.aspx. The intake division of the court may mark a case as eligible for the Youth Diversion Program and schedule a date to meet before a Diversion Panel that is typically filled by court officials or community volunteers.
The panel will then decide whether the child will benefit from the program, which is a supervisory program with certain requirements that must be completed in a specified time period as an alternative to formal adjudication. If the requirements are met, the charges will be dismissed and, in many cases, the child's record can be sealed or expunged.
The most common requirements of a Youth Diversion Program are the payment of a program fee, community service, alcohol or drug awareness courses, an essay, or a personal development class. If the requirements are not completed, the case will be prosecuted in the Juvenile Court.
In Newton County, Georgia, Juvenile Court Judge Sherri Roberts has developed several programs that focus on community involvement to provide an effective intervention as an alternative to the detention of youthful offenders. One program is for girls and their parents and follows the “Girls Moving On” curriculum to educate girls on life skills and lessons. The judge has also established a mentoring program for at-risk youth.
Judge Steven Teske of the Clayton County Juvenile Court has implemented new procedures for case management through a school conflict diversion program along with community members, service workers, police officers, and school officials that has led to an increased graduation rate in the county and there was an 87% decrease in fighting offenses and a 36% decrease among other “focus acts” which include disorderly conduct, obstruction of an officer, and disrupting a public school. For more information, see http://www.stopschoolstojails.org/clayton-county-georgia.html.
Of the almost 48,000 cases referred to Juvenile Court in 2011, approximately half were petitioned, meaning that the outcome was something other than a dismissal or a diversion. Juvenile Justice Decision Points for All Counties in Georgia for 2011. For more information, see http://juveniledata.georgia.gov/Reports.aspx. If the case is adjudicated, if a finding of delinquency is made, the youth may face either probation or even confinement in a detention facility.
If the case is adjudicated and the child is placed on probation, the Probation Unit of the Juvenile Court system has the responsibility of ensuring that children placed on probation by the Court abide by the rules of probation, pay restitution as ordered, and complete programs and community service assignments. Probation officers meet regularly with the juveniles and their families in office, home, and school visits; counsel them concerning problems and developmental needs; and set consequences for misbehavior. When problems arise that cannot be handled informally, the probation officers initiate revocation proceedings that return the children to the courtroom
The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice is an agency operating short and long term facilities for incarcerated youths. Regional Youth Detention Centers (RYDCs) are secure short-term centers for youths awaiting trial in Juvenile or Superior Court, or awaiting a community-based placement elsewhere more suitable for his/her needs. Youth Development Campuses (YDCs) are long-term rehabilitation facilities for youth sentenced or committed to DJJ custody by Juvenile Courts.
The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice provides probation supervision, court services, and alternative programs for youthful offenders in the Juvenile Court system.
- High Intensity Team Supervision offers in-home detention as an alternative to incarceration and includes electronic monitoring, curfew checks, drug and alcohol testing, crisis management, service learning projects, community service, and home, school, work and office visits.
- Specialized Treatment Services provides residential treatment services for youths that require long-term residential placement or specialized treatment service emphasizing mental health care.
- Wilderness Programs are outdoor-based treatment programs for youth committed to the DJJ. Upon completing the wilderness experience, youth return home or move to another community placement on aftercare status.
In addition, the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice acts as the state's 181st school district, which allows those in DJJ custody to earn a high school diploma from an accredited school system.
Designated Juvenile Felonies - Cases Handled in Adult Court Regardless of Age:
There are some offenses that are so severe that a juvenile aged 13 and over is prosecuted as an adult and the case is transferred to the adult Superior Court system. If the District Attorney seeks to transfer the juvenile case, this is almost always detrimental and should be contested. The crimes where the Superior Court has exclusive jurisdiction over juveniles ages 13-17 are known in Georgia as the 7 Deadly Sins. These crimes are murder, rape, armed robbery, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, aggravated sexual battery and voluntary manslaughter, kidnapping, drug trafficking, aggravated assault on a teacher, third burglary, fourth felony in general, attempted murder, arson, and highjacking a motor vehicle. There is no doubt, in the situation of a child charged with a designated felony, that your child needs a skilled attorney.
One very important and final thing to note is that your child is an adult for Georgia Criminal Law Purposes once they reach the age of 17. If you child is 17, he or she will be prosecuted as an adult. The case will go to adult court. Take great care and avoid the confusion of thinking that your child will be treated as a juvenile since they are under the age of 18. As an adult at age of 17, everything that happens in a criminal case is permanent and forever. We have expert lawyers that specialize on handling cases involving youthful offenders.
There are experts here to help your family with your child's juvenile court case:
The Juvenile Court system offers many protections that the adult legal system does not and a lawyer should be contacted promptly. Those protections are available to you if your hire the top-rated Juvenile Lawyers in Georgia. Our top-rated Georgia Juvenile Attorneys are here 24/7 to help your family with matters that can affect you for the rest of their lives. Contact us 24/7 for immediate answers and legal help. We are always available because your problems deserve immediate legal help an counsel. No young person should start life with a criminal charge on their record. Let our juvenile court attorneys help your child and your family.
Georgia Juvenile DUI Lawyer
Georgia Juvenile DUI Attorney
Georgia Juvenile DUI Lawyers
Georgia Juvenile DUI Attorneys
Georgia Juvenile Lawyer
Georgia Juvenile Attorney
Georgia Juvenile Court Lawyer
Georgia Juvenile Court Attorney