Can a Juvenile be Tried as an Adult in Georgia?

A murder was committed in Georgia recently; the victim is a 26-year-old Javante Jackson, who was killed in his Columbus apartment. The alleged perpetrators are a pair of teenagers who were arrested for this crime just a few hours into New Year’s Day.

They have been charged with two different crimes – committing murder and possessing firearms. On Jan 3, 2020, the two teenagers were to be tried in court for the same crime. However, instead of being tried as juveniles, they were tried as adults. 

When is a Teenager Tried as an Adult in Georgia? 

This is only one of the many instances in which teenage criminals have been tried as adults. There are essentially two situations when this happens. 

Instance 1: Seriousness of the Crime 

Any individual who has already reached the age of 13 can be tried as an adult in Georgia court and be found guilty. Most of the cases involving 13 to 17 years olds are dealt with in Juvenile Court. However, sometimes the superior court takes over the jurisdiction of cases in this age group. In the situation that the accused commit one of the following crimes, a young person could be tried as an adult:

  • Murder in the first degree
  • Murder in the second degree
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Rape
  • Aggravated sodomy
  • Child molestation of any nature
  • Sexual battery
  • Robbery executed with a firearm

If a teenager between 13 and 17 years of age commits any of the above crimes, his or her case may no longer be tried in juvenile court in Georgia.

Instance 2: Discretionary Transfer

The second method by which a teenager accused of a crime can be tried as an adult in Georgia is by means of a discretionary transfer. This means that the discretion to change the proceedings court from juvenile to supreme lies with the prosecutor irrespective of the crime committed.

The prosecutor may request a change of court in order to get the case tried in another way. This ensures that the accused does not get juvenile treatment anymore and will have to hire the services of an attorney with immediate effect. At this stage, the accused can argue to take the case back to juvenile court, as well. 

What Happens if a Juvenile is Tried in Adult Court in Georgia?

The criminal court process is simple here. Any accused person under the age of 17 who has been sentenced to life imprisonment or imprisonment for a certain age only, will be first sent to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Until they reach the age of 17, they would be serving their sentences in the juvenile facility. Beyond that age, they are transferred to the Department of Corrections in order to serve the remainder of their sentence.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Whether you are an adult or juvenile facing criminal charges in Georgia, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Contact the attorneys at Lankford & Moore Law today to schedule a consultation.

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Mahatma Gandhi

Lankford & Moore Law in Downtown Lawrenceville

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