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Augusta Juvenile Defense Lawyer

Juvenile Defense

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 Justice
Overview

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
Child’s Future

The Right Juvenile Criminal Attorney is Critical

I will fight for your child’s future.

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.

Case Results

When the stakes are high, the results matter most.

Not Guilty

Attempted Rape

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.

Reduced to Voluntary Manslaughter

Murder

Client charged with murder and possession of a firearm. Case reduced to Voluntary Manslaughter.

Not Guilty

Possession With Intent

Client charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Jury verdict of simple possession of marijuana.

Not Guilty

Simple Battery

Client charged with simple battery. Not guilty all counts at trial.

Case Dismissed

Trafficking

Trafficking methamphetamine. Dismissed. Probation on remaining counts.

Not Guilty

Aggravated Assault

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.

Client Reviews

Here is what our clients have to say.

Skilled, Respectful Representation

"Mr. Mitchell turned a complex issue that we had been fighting for years into an outcome we didn't think was possible, in a matter of months. Make him your first call and you will not regret it. I highly recommend Todd Mitchell"

Won My Case In Less Than 1 Hour

"Mr. Todd was a great attorney and handled my case quickly. I hired him three days before my trial and he came in, did a great job, and he got my case beat in less then an hour in the courtroom. I can't recommend Todd Mitchell enough"

Successfully Proved My Son's Innocence

"Mr. Todd took the time to listen to my son's side of the story. He was very understanding and patient. He took the time to gather the evidence that supported the case and proved my son's innocence. We are very appreciative. Again, thank you!"

The King of Trials - Mr. J. Todd "The Lion" Mitchell 

"Mr. Mitchell is a real lion in the court room. I was facing 52 years and came out with a 2-5 year sentence. When his back is against the wall, Todd doesn't give up. I think he should change his name to J. Todd "The Lion" Mitchell. He is the only lawyer I will trust."

Todd is Knowledgeable & Fearless!

"I was in an impossible situation and thought I would spend a chunk of my life behind bars. Then God sent Todd Mitchell. He spoke up for me to the judge and D.A. at the hearing and was continuously on top of the case. His is the only number I'll call."

Great Counsel and a Great Outcome

"I hired Todd to handle a criminal case with a high probability of significant jail time. He was key in navigating the complexities of my case and always offered sound advice which ultimately resulted in the best possible outcome for my circumstances."

Todd Mitchell is a Winning Trial Expert

"Todd Mitchell is a trial expert, not just a criminal defense lawyer. His extensive experience WINNING trials, not just trying them, sets him apart from other attorneys in this area. If you want someone who will fight for you, hire Todd Mitchell."

Georgia Juvenile Criminal Defense FAQs

Have a specific criminal defense question? Contact us today!

The juvenile process is less formal than the adult criminal process, and is supposed to take the welfare of the accused juvenile into account. However, if your child has been accused of a juvenile offense, it’s important not to let the format of the proceedings lull you into a false sense of security. An adjudication of delinquency can have serious consequences, and you should consult a juvenile attorney before making any decisions about how to proceed.

While those under the age of 18 are considered juveniles for many purposes, anyone who is at least 17 years old is charged in adult court in Georgia.

Anyone who is at least 17 years of age will be charged as an adult in Georgia. In addition, the adult courts have exclusive jurisdiction over juveniles 13 and up who are accused of murder, rape, and certain other serious felonies. Other cases may be waived into adult court if the juvenile court judge finds it appropriate, including any act that would be considered a crime if committed by an adult if the juvenile is 15 or older.

Juveniles have most of the same Constitutional rights as adults accused of a crime, including the right to remain silent and the right to be represented by an attorney. If a juvenile’s rights were violated in the collection of evidence, such as through an unlawful search, your juvenile defense attorney may be able to get that evidence thrown out.

Many parents make the mistake of thinking a juvenile case isn’t serious. However, a juvenile adjudication can have indirect consequences. In some states, it’s required that the juvenile and their family are informed of those consequences, which are officially known as “collateral consequences.” Georgia does not, so you will need to get information about the possible collateral consequences relating to your child’s allegations from your juvenile attorney.

A juvenile defense lawyer can help your family at every stage of the proceedings, from working to keep your child in juvenile court to identifying weaknesses in the case or opportunities to suppress evidence and negotiating for the most favorable outcome possible or fighting the charges in court. It’s easy to make mistakes that can have a serious impact on the outcome of your child’s case, so the sooner you speak with an attorney, the better.

The best defense will depend on the specifics of the case. Some common defenses include fighting to exclude evidence and then dismiss the case for lack of proof, showing that the juvenile did not commit the offense, or showing that the act was unintentional or happened under duress. Your juvenile attorney will talk with your family about the options in your case.

Parents are involved at every stage of the juvenile justice process and may even be ordered by the court to take certain actions.