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When may juveniles be tried as an adult?

You may have heard many news stories about children who have been charged with crimes. Typically, when a minor commits a crime, he or she is charged as a juvenile. The juvenile court has some different rules and punishments than adult court. In some Georgia cases, though, a child may be charged as an adult.

The National Juvenile Defender Center notes that generally anyone who is under the age of 17 is under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court and will be charged as such. There is no minimum age for this court. A juvenile court may maintain jurisdiction over a person until the age of 21 for ongoing cases and punishments. However, to be initiated in juvenile court, the offense has to be committed before the person turns 17. 

So, a juvenile can be charged in adult court if he or she is 17. There are a few other situations where juvenile charges may be sent to adult court. First, if a juvenile commits a serious or heinous crime, such as murder, armed robbery, child molestation, sexual battery, rape or voluntary manslaughter, then these crimes are usually sent to adult court. It is important to note, this is done for minors aged 13 to 17. Second, if the crime carries the possibility of a life sentence and the person is at least 13 or 14 years old, then the case may go to adult court. Lastly, the case may go to adult court is the person is over the age of 15 and commits a felony.

This information is for education and is not legal advice. 

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