Georgia law considers a juvenile as someone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday. Any minor who participates in illegal activity or violates the law can be punished by the court in various ways, including:
- Community Service
Offenses that Juveniles can Commit
Children can be charged with two categories of offenses: status offenses and delinquent offenses.
In most basic terms, status offenses are crimes that are illegal when committed by a child or person under the age of 18 but may not considered illegal if performed by an adult. Status offenders are essentially unruly children who commit offenses that include:
- General acts of disobedience (examples include vandalism, shoplifting, graffiti, etc.)
- Running away from home
- Truancy (missing school without a valid excuse)
- Underage drinking
- Violating local curfew laws (in Macon, GA, children under 16 may not be out after midnight or before 5 a.m.)
Typically, juveniles who receive first-time status offense charges face punishments like probation or community service. Repeat offenders or those who commit more serious status offenses can be ordered to serve time in juvenile detention centers.
Delinquent offenses are criminal violations performed by juveniles. Examples include:
- Drug possession
- Sexual Assault
Sometimes juveniles commit acts so severe they must be tried as adults. These crimes can include:
- Aggravated child molestation
- Aggravated sexual battery
- Armed robbery
- Voluntary manslaughter
The facts of the case can determine whether a minor will be tried as an adult or in juvenile court. Ideally, Georgia law will take criminal intent (or lack thereof) into account when analyzing certain delinquent offenses, and courts will strive to use sentencing as a means of restoration and rehabilitation along with punishment.
If your family is facing a juvenile arrest, contact Gregory Bushway today.