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It is widely known and understood that children make mistakes, in fact, this is a part of growing up. Unfortunately, some mistakes can follow children for the rest of their lives. As a result, it is important to understand juvenile crimes and their penalties in Georgia. Read on to learn more.

What is a Juvenile Crime?

For the most part, when a child under the age of 17 breaks the law in Georgia, it is not referred to as “committing a crime.” Instead, if the child breaks the law, it will either be considered an unruly act or a delinquent act. A delinquent act is one that would be considered a crime, had it been committed by an adult. On the other hand, an unruly act may be something like running away, truancy, breaking a curfew, and so on.

What is a “Child in Need of Services”

In Georgia, a “Child in Need of Services” is a child who is in need of care, guidance, counseling, structure, supervision, treatment, or rehabilitation. In order to be considered a “child in need of services,” the child must have committed an unruly act, such as:

  • The child is habitually truant
  • The child is habitually disobedient of their parent or guardians or places themselves or others in unsafe situations
  • The child has run away from home;
  • The child commits an offense only applicable to a child
  • The child loiters in public between midnight and 5 AM
  • The child patronizes any bar where alcohol is sold unaccompanied by their parent or guardian

A child in need of services may never be held in an adult jail, adult lock up, or other adult detention facilities.

What are the Penalties for Juvenile Crimes in Georgia?

If a child is found guilty of a delinquent act, the penalties can be serious. Common consequences include:

  • Probation
  • Commitment to a Department of Juvenile Justice program
  • Commitment to a detention facility
  • Restitution
  • Community service
  • Supervision fees
  • A driver’s license suspension
  • Additional punishments that the Judge determines fair and proportionate

What do I do if my Child has Committed an Unruly or Delinquent Act?

If your child breaks the law, he or she will need the help of an experienced attorney. You should contact a criminal defense attorney who has experience with juvenile cases.

If your child is facing charges, contact our firm today. We will explore all possible avenues of defense and advocate for your child’s future.

Contact Our Experienced Firm

We at the Miller Law Practice understand that people make mistakes. We are here to fight for you throughout all of your criminal law matters. Do not hesitate to contact our firm today and speak with an experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorney.