Juvenile charging and the criminal process: Yes, it is different

On Behalf of | May 14, 2020 | juvenile crimes |

Many people believe that the criminal justice system is one overarching process that treats all alleged wrongdoers the same.

Put another way: It is a common assumption that any two defendants charged with similar actions will be treated the same in a Georgia courtroom.

That view often informs perceptions about young offenders – namely minors and adolescents – who are charged with a criminal offense. We note at the established Canton Law Offices of Walter L. Lutes that, “Many people assume juvenile law is exactly the same as laws that apply to adults.”

Indeed, charging specifics and outcomes can be similar for juvenile and adult offenders in given instances. Candidly, though, that is not the norm. Society recognizes – and parents certainly know – that minors are works in progress and not fully mature. Young people are often impressionable and make uninformed decisions owing to peer pressure and simple lack of life experience.

The consequences of such behavior can sometimes sting. A drug possession or underage drinking charge, for example, can yield long-lasting consequences that adversely affect a minor’s future. Those include lost job and educational opportunities, ongoing criminal monitoring, exclusion from military service and many other downsides.

The American legal system largely believes in rehabilitation and a second chance for most youthful offenders, but that rationale doesn’t just automatically play out across the board. A juvenile offender needs timely and knowledgeable representation from proven legal counsel.

A dedicated attorney who is intimately familiar with the juvenile justice system can ensure that a young person facing criminal charges in Georgia receives a strong defense aimed at securing an optimal case outcome.