In the State of Georgia, there is a Juvenile Court System that handles most offenses committed by minors 17 and under. Especially dangerous or heinous crimes, however, may involve charging juveniles as adults.
When this occurs, the juvenile’s case is transferred to a Superior Court. Acts committed by juveniles that carry consequences such as life in prison or loss of life can have concurrent jurisdiction in Juvenile Court and Superior Court.
If a minor is charged with a crime—particularly one that could have them tried in Superior Court as an adult, it is important to seek professional advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney in Marietta Georgia.
Criminal defense attorneys can ensure that juveniles are granted fair and equal treatment under the law. They can also help mitigate any infringements on a juvenile’s rights while they are arrested, questioned, and during the investigation process.
As a general rule, juvenile offenders should not speak with law enforcement without an attorney present or admit to any wrongdoing without the advice of legal counsel.
Which crimes can lead to juveniles being charged as adults in Georgia?
Certain offenses can lead to a juvenile (between the ages of 13 and 16) being tried in Superior Court. Seven of these nine offenses are commonly referred to as the “Seven Deadly Sins” or “SB440” offenses.
The following charges can give Superior Court jurisdiction over juvenile defendants:
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Aggravated child molestation
- Aggravated sodomy
- Aggravated sexual battery
- Armed robbery when committed with firearms
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Aggravated battery upon law enforcement officers
- Aggravated assault upon law enforcement officers with firearms
Can a district attorney decline prosecution?
Yes, a district attorney can decline prosecution of a juvenile in Superior Court before an indictment. When this occurs, the case can be transferred to juvenile court.
The case can also be transferred to juvenile court after an indictment with “extraordinary cause” for certain offenses such as aggravated sexual battery or voluntary manslaughter. These transfers, however, may be appealed by the State of Georgia.
Sometimes, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can negotiate with a district attorney to decline to prosecute and transfer the case to juvenile court.
The process of negotiating with district attorneys for SB440 cases is an important matter that should be handled by experienced criminal defense attorneys who have worked with juvenile offenders and “Seven Deadly Sins” charges in the past.
How do I find a lawyer to represent my child?
Finding the right lawyer to represent your child is an important decision that should not be taken lightly as your child’s future hangs in the balance. Asking for recommendations from lawyers you already know and searching online can help narrow down your list of candidates.
The Frye Law Group serves people in and around Marietta, Georgia, facing criminal charges, including juvenile crimes. We provide compassionate and aggressive representation to help our clients receive fair and equitable treatment under the law.