Children committing crimes in Georgia are typically tried under the juvenile system. This body is designed to rehabilitate underage criminals and counsel them to prevent them from becoming repeat offenders.
In some cases, youths and children can be tried as adults in Georgia based on several factors. In Georgia, any child 17 years or older is considered an adult.
When Can a Juvenile Be Tried as an Adult in Georgia?
In Georgia, there are several reasons why a juvenile could be tried as an adult, such as the seriousness of the offense. A typical case is when a youth that is 13 years of age commits a violent crime such as rape and aggravated assault. They may be deemed an adult and tried as such until the court decides otherwise.
If the crime is committed by a minor 13 years of age or older and carries a life sentence without parole or a death sentence, they are tried as adults.
In other instances, repeat juvenile offenders might be tried as adults in Georgia courts. For example, suppose a juvenile that is 14 years and is already in the juvenile system commits murder, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, or aggravated battery. In that case, they must be tried as an adult.
Finally, under certain circumstances, juvenile courts in Georgia may automatically transfer minors 15 years of age and older to the adult system.
Advantages of Being Tried as an Adult
Juveniles being tried as adults may not necessarily be a drawback. In some situations, the children may be mature enough to understand and commit a crime. Furthermore, the youth will have access to services like vocational skills that are not available in the juvenile system.
Additionally, trying minors as adults creates a consistent structure in the legal system. This prevents children that commit horrendous crimes from rejoining society without sufficient intervention.
The major downside to being tried as an adult is subjection to adult penalties which are often severe. Moreover, these criminal records cannot be sealed. They will still appear in their lists of past convictions.
Advantages of Being Tried as a Juvenile
Being tried as a juvenile is advantageous to the offender. Not only are the penalties less severe, but they are also confidential and expunged in most states. This means that any conviction record will not be used against them in their adult life.
However, as mentioned, these children will miss essential training programs not offered in their juvenile system.
The Georgia Juvenile system is intended to protect minors, rehabilitate them to correct their behavior, and prevent them from becoming repeat offenders.
However, some minors can be tried as adults in Georgia due to different factors like the severity of the crimes and whether or not the minor is a repeat offender.
Since these laws vary from state to state, it is wise to speak to a criminal lawyer to evaluate the circumstances determining whether the offender will be tried as a child or adult.
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