Augusta Juvenile Defense Lawyer
When your child has been arrested or alleged delinquent, there’s a lot at stake for your family. I’ve devoted my practice to fighting for people accused of crimes and offenses in Georgia. I understand what’s at risk and how best to protect your child.
Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer in Augusta, GA
How Do Juvenile Charges Work?
The Georgia juvenile justice system is similar to the adult criminal courts process, but there are some important differences. So, it’s important to work with a criminal defense attorney who has specific knowledge of and experience in juvenile proceedings.
When a juvenile has been accused of an offense, there are many different possible paths. In the best case scenario, the juvenile is released to their parents and then the matter is resolved by informal adjustment—an outcome that doesn’t involve a formal adjudication, and typically requires completion of certain requirements, such as counseling and correction of the issues that led to the arrest. At the other end of the spectrum, the juvenile may be assessed to be a risk and detained. And, juvenile court proceedings can lead to formal adjudication and consequences as serious as commitment to a juvenile detention center.
Between these two extremes, there are a wide variety of possible outcomes, from negotiating for probation to trying the case before a judge and beating the charges entirely.
Factors Impacting Juvenile Dispositions
Of course, the outcome depends in large part on the seriousness of the offenses. However, there are several other variables that factor in. Some of these include:
- The strength of the evidence against your child
- How you and your child interact with law enforcement and others involved in the process
- Whether your child has prior juvenile offenses
- Other aspects of your child’s life, such as school performance, work, and other involvements
- Your family circumstances, including the level of support and supervision available to the child in the home
In theory, the Georgia juvenile justice system is designed not just to punish, but to consider the best interests of the child and how to put them on a better path for the future. However, it’s important that you recognize that law enforcement, prosecutors, judges and others involved in the process are balancing your child’s interests against other issues, such as public safety. You should never assume they’re “on your side.”
Who is a Juvenile?
Under Georgia law, anyone who has reached the age of 17 is tried as an adult, regardless of the seriousness of the crime. And, younger juveniles may be tried as adults for certain serious crimes, or based on a history of certain types of crimes. In Georgia, juveniles who are tried as adults are sentenced as adults and serve their time in adult jails and prisons. The Georgia Department of Corrections reports on these juveniles. At the end of any given month, there are dozens of children serving time in the Georgia prison system.
Are Juvenile Records Automatically Sealed?
While a few types of Georgia juvenile records are eligible for automatic sealing, some may require a petition to the court, and some aren’t eligible for sealing at all. Similarly, while most juvenile records are confidential, there are exceptions. And, even confidential records are available to courts, law enforcement officers, correctional institutions, probation officers, and others who need access to these records to perform their duties.
If you were convicted as a juvenile or have a child with a juvenile record, don’t assume that it will take care of itself. Educate yourself about the circumstances in which a juvenile record can be sealed or cleared and what is required to make that happen.
Constitutional Rights in Juvenile Proceedings
Though a juvenile court proceeding is less formal than an adult criminal trial, you should know that your child has most of the same Constitutional rights as an adult criminal defendant. For example:
- Juveniles generally have the same search and seizure protections as adults, though they may be altered in certain environments such as a school. If the evidence against your child was illegally obtained, your juvenile defense lawyer may be able to get it excluded from the proceedings.
- Juveniles have a right to remain silent just like adults. Make sure your child is aware of this right, even if you don’t anticipate that they’ll ever be detained.
- Juveniles have a right to counsel, and should exercise this right as soon as possible.
The prosecution in a juvenile proceeding also has to prove each element of the allegations against your child beyond a reasonable doubt, just as they would in an adult criminal proceeding.
Fighting for Your
The Right Juvenile Criminal Attorney is Critical
Every parent wants the best for their children. But, fear for the child’s future or an effort to teach them to take responsibility for their actions can have unforeseen consequences. For example, some parents encourage their kids to “own up” right away, without seeking the advice of an experienced juvenile lawyer. Others, in a misguided attempt to protect their children, encourage them to lie—a decision that can have very serious consequences if and when the truth comes out.
Your best option as a parent is to engage with your child and put the legal counsel in the hands of someone who knows the Georgia juvenile justice system and how best to protect your child’s interests. If your child has been detained, they’ll be appearing in court almost immediately, so it’s important to get advice right away.
To learn more about how we can help protect your child in a Georgia juvenile proceeding, call 706-750-0501 or fill out the contact form on this site. The initial consultation is free.
When the stakes are high, the results matter most.
Client charged with attempted rape, aggravated assault, home invasion, burglary in the first degree, aggravated assault, kidnapping, possession of a firearm. Not guilty all counts.
Client charged with murder and possession of a firearm. Case reduced to Voluntary Manslaughter.
Possession With Intent
Client charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Jury verdict of simple possession of marijuana.
Client charged with simple battery. Not guilty all counts at trial.
Trafficking methamphetamine. Dismissed. Probation on remaining counts.
Client charged with aggravated assault, burglary in the first degree, and forgery in the fourth degree. Facing 41 years in prison. Not guilty verdict on all felonies. Only convicted of one count of misdemeanor battery.
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Successfully Proved My Son's Innocence
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