Georgia’s juvenile laws generally apply to anyone under the age of 17, but older than 13. Although the criminal justice system treats minors differently from adults in many situations, minors facing criminal charges should not underestimate the weight of the charges against them. A criminal conviction at a young age can have lasting repercussions, from negatively affecting college applications to job opportunities.
Atlanta juvenile crimes attorney David Schnipper combines years of experience and compassion in protecting the rights of children. He is dedicated to ensuring that one mistake or misunderstanding does not result in a lifetime of punishment. Knowing that young convicts suffer severe disadvantages far later in life, David Schnipper aggressively fights criminal allegations, giving children a fresh start.
Juveniles in the Criminal System
Scientific studies consistently show that the part of the brain responsible for measuring long-term consequences is not fully developed in teenagers. Combined with uncontrollable surges in hormones, this partially explains the often violent activity displayed by young adults. While some believe that kids should be punished as adults, most judges are reluctant to lock juveniles away for life. They would rather stay the punishing hand of justice and give them a shot at rehabilitation. But juvenile convictions for serious crimes can brand teenagers into adulthood, hindering further education, employment, and credit. Many stay in the criminal system for life.
Overview of Juvenile Justice
Children between the ages of 13 and 17 are tried by the juvenile court. They are committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice upon conviction. The Department takes physical possession of the child and makes periodic examinations for any improvement. The juvenile is not entitled to discharge from custody until the Department agrees to file a petition with the court. The duration of commitment depends upon the child’s designation as one of the following:
- Unruly or delinquent child
- Child repeat felony offender
- Child felon sentenced as adult
Definition of Unruly Child
To be “unruly,” the juvenile court must find that the child meets one or more of the following characteristics:
- Disobeys court order of supervision
- Patronizes a bar or possesses alcoholic beverages
- Committed offense only applicable to a “child” (under 17)
- Ungovernable, habitually disobedient of reasonable commands
- Deserts home, wanders or loiters in streets between midnight and 5 A.M.
- Commits a delinquent act and needs supervision, treatment, or rehabilitation
A “child” may also be an individual under 21 years of age who committed a delinquent act before reaching 17. The Department of Juvenile Justice has custody over children who commit merely “delinquent” or “unruly” acts. These acts are distinguished from felonies.
Juveniles Convicted of Felonies
The juvenile court is distinct from the superior court, which has exclusive authority over certain children between 13 and 17 who are convicted of serious crimes. These felonies include murder, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated sexual crimes, and robbery using a firearm. These children are sentenced into the custody of the adult Department of Corrections rather than the Department of Juvenile Justice.
The superior court also has authority to sentence children with a previous conviction who commit a subsequent violation. The Department of Corrections takes custody of repeat offenders. A child sentenced as an adult to imprisonment first serves time in the Department of Juvenile Justice until he or she reaches 17 years of age. Upon turning 17, the individual is then transferred to the Department of Corrections to complete the rest of the sentence.
David Schnipper: Experienced, Dedicated Juvenile Defense Lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia
The juvenile court system requires experience and compassion. Georgia criminal defense lawyer David Schnipper has been fighting juvenile convictions for years. He is committed to preserving the freedom and opportunities of young adults. David Schnipper works closely with parents and children to craft a strategy that best fits their needs. He diligently defends the child against baseless allegations, persuading juvenile court judges to exercise the greatest leniency possible. Atlanta juvenile crimes Attorney Schnipper understands that counseling, treatment, and community service are always preferable to detention or imprisonment. He aggressively advocates for juvenile children to give them the second chance they deserve. Call 404-545-5845 today for a free consultation or contact us online.