Experienced Forsyth County Juvenile Crime Lawyers
The Waltman Firm: Top-notch Forsyth County Juvenile Crime Lawyers for your legal defense. Contact our experienced attorneys to protect your rights and fight for justice.
Forsyth County Juvenile Crime Attorney
Has your child been arrested in Forsyth County? We understand how terrifying this can be for your child and your family. Juvenile law attorneys at the Waltman Firm are available 24/7 for you.
Juvenile crime is any illegal act committed by someone under the age of 17 years old. According to Georgia law, children as young as 13 can be prosecuted and sentenced for committing a crime. It’s absolutely crucial to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately after the police approach you.
Law enforcement officers can interview your child without your permission and may take advantage of the situation to secure a confession. A juvenile attorney can protect the rights and interests of your child if involved from the beginning of the process.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Waltman Firm have a proven track record in defending minors against criminal charges. We can give you the aggressive representation you need.
Types of Juvenile Offenses in Georgia
According to Georgia Juvenile Code, juvenile offenses are divided into delinquencies and status offenses.
- Delinquencies are offenses that would be deemed a misdemeanor or felony if committed by an adult. These offenses usually lead to detention, probation, and fines.
- Status Offenses are less severe offenses, such as running from home or school, possessing alcohol, or violating curfew. Status offenders are usually referred to as children in need of services.
Georgia Juvenile Law
Although the age of criminal responsibility in Georgia is 17, children as young as 13 can be prosecuted if they commit a delinquent act (crime). Moreover, a child of 13 or older who commits a serious felony act, such as rape, murder, or robbery with a firearm, can be transferred to an adult court. Juvenile courts consider the following criteria before making such a decision:
- Criminal record
- The mental condition of the minors
- The severity of the offenses
- The victim’s age and situation
- The interest of the minors
- Availability of suitable rehabilitation programs
The Juvenile Court Proceedings in Georgia
Sections 15-11-470 through 15-11-608 of the Georgia Juvenile Code describe the juvenile criminal process for delinquencies. Less serious offenses, such as unruly acts, are usually settled informally without having to go through the court process.
After a complaint is filed with the juvenile court by the police, parents, or a citizen, the court process starts. It usually goes as follows:
The juvenile intake department or local juvenile court reviews the case and decides whether to release or detain the child, depending on the case details. Usually, all complaints involving delinquent acts or serious felonies result in detention.
2. Detention Hearing
The detained minor appears before a juvenile court judge within 48 hours if arrested without a warrant or within five days with a warrant. The county juvenile court informs the child of the charges against them and their rights. During this hearing, the judge will also decide whether or not to release the child and whether to keep the child in custody awaiting trial. The judge makes a decision based on the following:
- The minors’ risk of committing other crimes
- Availability of options for detention
- The seriousness of the offense
- Ties to the community
If your child is held in custody, you should contact a juvenile law attorney immediately.
If the juvenile court decides that the case proceeds to a formal hearing, the prosecution office files a petition that outlines the case details and the charges against the child.
The arraignment hearing is usually held within ten days of the filing of the petition. At this hearing,
- The child appears before a judge who will inform them of their rights, such as the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, and the right to a trial.
- The judge will explain to the child the charges against them and their possible consequences.
- The child either enters an admission (similar to a guilty plea) or a denial (similar to a not-guilty plea). If the child admits to the charges, a disposition hearing will be scheduled.
Some Georgia Juvenile Courts allow an attorney to waive the arraignment on behalf of their client.
5. Adjudicatory Hearing
The adjudicatory hearing is the same as a trial in adult cases. The juvenile court judge hears arguments from the prosecution and the defense and witness testimony. Based on the evidence, the judge will decide whether the child committed the offense they are charged with. If the child is found guilty, the judge will adjudicate them as delinquent, and a disposition hearing is scheduled. If not, the case will be dismissed.
6. Disposition Hearing
At the disposition hearing, the equivalent to a sentencing hearing in adult courts, the juvenile court judge hears the evidence of both parties and then decides on the appropriate dispositions. These can include:
- Community service
- Placement in a youth facility
A juvenile law attorney can help you navigate the juvenile justice system and ensure your child’s rights are protected. Attorney Dan Waltman and his team of experienced criminal defense attorneys at The Waltman Firm will utilize decades of collective experience to fight for your child’s best interests. We understand the gravity of these situations and provide relentless advocacy for our clients.
How Can Forsyth County juvenile crime lawyers Help?
Having an experienced juvenile crime attorney by your side throughout the process is invaluable to you and your child. A defense lawyer will help you in the following ways:
Explain the criminal charges and their possible outcomes
Protect your child’s rights and interests during the juvenile process
Negotiate with the prosecutor
Represent and defend your child at the arraignment, adjudicatory, and disposition hearings
Advocate for a suitable disposition and more appropriate outcomes for your child
Appeal the juvenile court decision and give your child a second chance at getting justice
Apply for the restriction or expungement of your child’s criminal record.
A lawyer with extensive experience in juvenile and family law can help your child avoid harsh penalties and the stigma that comes with a criminal record.
Contact the Waltman Firm Today
Juvenile crime charges can have dire effects on the well-being of your child and family. Our compassionate attorneys at the Waltman Firm can help you through this challenging time with sound legal advice and aggressive representation.
We have extensive experience handling and successfully defending juveniles against various Forsyth County and North Metro Atlanta charges. We strive to protect your child’s rights and interests at all times.
If you or your child is facing a juvenile crime charge, don’t hesitate to contact The Waltman Firm for help. We are dedicated to providing comprehensive legal advice and aggressive defense services at an affordable cost. Call us today and book a consultation with an experienced juvenile defense attorney.