When children commit a crime in Georgia, they are typically tried as juveniles in the juvenile justice system, which is designed to rehabilitate youths through education and counseling to avoid becoming repeat offenders. On the other hand, the criminal justice system that adults go through is designed to punish the convicted.
So, when can a child be tried as an adult in Georgia? The answer depends on specific circumstances of the case, such as the severity of the offense and the child’s criminal history.
In general, any child who is 17 years of age or older is considered an adult in Georgia. In addition, if a child commits a crime on the last day of being 16 years old, he/she may be tried as an adult.
If a child is over 13 years old and is charged with a certain violent crime (e.g. murder, voluntary manslaughter, rape, aggravated sexual assault, armed robbery, etc.), the child can be tried as an adult in criminal court—unless the court transfers the case to juvenile court. However, if a child over 13 years of age commits a crime that carries a potential penalty of life without parole or death, he/she must be tried as an adult.
If a child who is at least 14 years of age—and currently in juvenile custody—commits a serious violent crime, he/she must be tried in adult court. If a child who is at least 15 years old is charged with a fourth burglary after having been convicted of three burglaries in the past, he/she will automatically be tried in adult court.
Lastly, a juvenile court has the discretion to transfer minors who are 15 years of age or older to adult court, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Whether your child is being charged in juvenile court or adult criminal court in Atlanta, contact Abt Law Firm, LLC today at (678) 582-2272 and schedule a free consultation to discuss his/her case and potential legal options.