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Children & Criminal Culpability

In some states, the law views kids as innocent citizens who are incapable of understanding or holding the intent to commit criminal acts. However, do Georgia legislators and judges view children in the same way? Let’s look at what the law has to say.

Georgia Laws & Statutory Minimums

Some states have laws that protect children from prosecution should they commit a criminal act or certain kinds of crimes. For example, any child under the age of 10 cannot be prosecuted in Colorado. In Vermont, any child under the age of 10 cannot be prosecuted for most criminal acts, but any child of any age can be prosecuted for murder.

Georgia does not have a statutory minimum regarding criminal acts. Therefore, the state can prosecute even the youngest of children for crimes they commit.

This fact means that, in Georgia, any child can be prosecuted for any crime regardless of his or her age.

The Argument of a Child’s Culpability

The reason many states adhere to laws that protect children from prosecution is that research has shown that children’s brains are extremely different from adults’ brains. For example, as stated in this American Bar Association article, children lack prefrontal cortex development.

The prefrontal cortex controls one’s ability to:

  • Delay a compulsive action and reflect on potential outcomes;
  • Take all options into consideration;
  • Consider risks and consequences; and
  • Block out peer pressure.

Another major difference between adolescent brains and adult brains is the imbalance in cognitive control and social-emotional responses. This imbalance leads to impulsive behavior that seeks out new sensations and increases reactive emotional responses.

As a result of these differences between adolescent and adult brains, it is arguably unfair that children are prosecuted for criminal acts.

Has Your Child Been Accused of Committing a Criminal Offense?

If your son or daughter has been charged for a criminal offense, The ABT Law Firm is here to help. Our firm believes that the circumstances of a case can impact the culpability of the accused and that a child’s underdeveloped brain is a strong argument against the prosecution’s case.

Call (678) 582-2272 now for a free consultation for your child’s case.

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