Our firm has represented an increasing number of juveniles facing criminal charges in North Georgia over the past 3 years. Although some of these include serious felonies such as aggravated or sexual assault, most involve one of the following–
- Shoplifting or Theft
- Simple Assault and Battery
- Minor in Possession
- Disorderly Conduct
- Possession of a Firearm
- Drug Possession
- Reckless Driving
If you or your child has been arrested, it’s important to remember that the laws applying to minors are different than those for adults. (There are even laws that apply only to people under the age of 18 years; i.e. truancy and violation of curfew.) Most charges against minors will be heard in juvenile court, except very serious offenses, like murder and rape, which are regularly tried in adult court.
What to do if a Minor is Arrested or Taken into Police Custody
Police officers can arrest a minor for a felony or misdemeanor. The officer only needs to believe that the minor has committed the crime to take him or her into custody. If arrested or detained by law enforcement, a minor should:
- Never resist arrest. This will only create bigger problems.
- Decline to answer any questions, even if a parent or legal guardian is present.
- Ask for an attorney and make sure the attorney is present for all questioning.
- Only discuss the case with the attorney.
- DO NOT POST ANYTHING ABOUT THE ARREST OR INCIDENT ANYWHERE ONLINE. That includes Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media site.
Long-Term Consequences of Juvenile Convictions in Georgia
Many children and their parents do not fully realize the legal ramifications of committing a crime while under the age of 18. Depending upon how a charge against a juvenile offender is handled, there may be long lasting consequences. The record of conviction in the juvenile system can sometimes be expunged or essentially erased when the child turns 18 years of age. However, some cannot be, or can involve a lengthy and expensive process to do so.
That means something a minor did before the age of 18 could potentially follow him for life. We’ve seen instances where a simple juvenile conviction prohibits admission to certain colleges or organizations. Therefore, when determining a defense strategy, it is essential to know when and how a juvenile offender’s record will be sealed.
It is a far better plan to fight the accusations against a minor with the help of an attorney than to hope that the crime will be expunged later or the record will be sealed. Sometimes, parents feel that their child should learn a “hard lesson.” However, there are plenty of ways to discipline a child and have them take responsibility for a bad decision that do not affect their long-term reputation.
Contact Canton, GA Criminal Defense Attorney Jeff Heller
If you or your child has been arrested in Cherokee, Cobb, Bartow, or any county in North Georgia, contact our firm today at (678) 992-4346. Your initial consultation to discuss options is free of charge, and we offer payment plans for more serious Georgia criminal charges. All information is also kept strictly confidential.