As a reputable law firm located in the heart of Savannah, GA, Schneider Lerch Bronston, LLC is committed to providing valuable information and legal assistance to our clients and our community. In this blog, we aim to shed light on the complex topic of when juveniles are charged as adults. Understanding the circumstances under which this occurs is essential for parents, guardians, and individuals facing such situations. Let's explore the factors involved and the potential consequences.
Legal Procedures Regarding Juvenile Offenses
In most cases, the juvenile justice system focuses on the rehabilitation of minors who have committed offenses. This system aims to provide guidance, counseling, and support to help young offenders reintegrate into society.
Transfer to Adult Court
There are instances where juveniles may be tried as adults. The process of transferring a juvenile case to adult court is known as "waiving" or "transfer." This decision is typically made by a judge based on various factors.
Factors Influencing Transfer to Adult Court:
Seriousness of the Offense: Offenses considered serious, such as murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery, or certain violent crimes, may lead to consideration for adult court.
Age of the Offender: Older juveniles nearing the age of majority may be more likely to face charges in adult court.
Criminal History: A juvenile with a history of repeat offenses or prior involvement in serious crimes may be more likely to be tried as an adult.
Public Safety Concerns: If a prosecutor argues that a juvenile poses a significant risk to public safety, they might seek the case to be transferred to adult court.
Sophistication and Maturity: The level of sophistication and maturity of the juvenile might also be considered. For example, if the crime was premeditated and executed in a manner indicative of an adult, the case might be transferred.
Discretion of the Judge: Ultimately, judges have discretionary power in determining whether a case should be tried in adult court. They consider various factors and circumstances before making a decision.
Legal Ramifications of Adult Charges for Juveniles
Being charged as an adult can have significant legal consequences for juveniles, including:
- Exposure to adult criminal penalties, which might result in longer sentences.
- Placement in adult correctional facilities rather than juvenile detention centers.
- Impact on future opportunities, including limitations in employment and education due to a criminal record.
Balancing Rehabilitation & Accountability
The decision to charge a juvenile as an adult is a delicate balance between holding individuals accountable for their actions and providing opportunities for rehabilitation. While accountability is important, the juvenile system primarily focuses on reforming and rehabilitating young offenders to prevent recidivism.
Advocacy & Legal Representation
For juveniles facing adult charges, having skilled legal representation is crucial. Attorneys can advocate for the juvenile's rights, provide the best defense, and work to have the case transferred back to juvenile court if possible.
Contact Schneider Lerch Bronston, LLC Today
Navigating the complexities of when juveniles are charged as adults requires a comprehensive understanding of the factors involved and the potential consequences. At Schneider Lerch Bronston, LLC, our skilled criminal defense team is dedicated to providing expert legal guidance to individuals and families facing these challenging situations. If you or your loved one is dealing with a juvenile offense, our experienced attorneys are here to provide personalized support and strategic representation.