What Happens to Minors if They are Charged with Forgery?

Juvenile forgery cases are much like adult forgery cases.

The same criminal laws apply in juvenile court and adult court. Additionally, forgery has the same collateral consequences in juvenile and adult court. White-collar criminal charges are rare in juvenile court and, therefore, very jarring. Moreover, the juvenile arrest rate has dropped significantly in recent years, which means many children believe they are immune from prosecution, and these charges blindside many families. If they know what to expect in these situations, they normally make better decisions for themselves and their futures.

As outlined below, most criminal cases, including most juvenile cases, settle out of court. So, a Georgia criminal defense lawyer must be a good litigator as well as a good negotiator. Attorneys must reduce the amount of evidence prosecutors can use at trial and attack the state’s evidence. Then, an attorney must leverage these defenses during plea negotiations. These plea deals usually include reduced charges and/or a reduced penalty.

The Pretrial Process

Once prosecutors file formal charges, at the first appearance, legal representation is the first priority. Sometimes, juvenile defendants may choose between a public defender or a private Norcross criminal defense lawyer. This option is not always available. For example, many judges basically assume that if a juvenile defendant can afford bail, the defendant can afford to hire a lawyer.

Usually, court-appointed lawyers and public defenders are fully qualified and well-experienced lawyers. However, the court-appointed lawyers and public defenders usually have hundreds of cases assigned to them at the same time and your case is not always their first priority.

Next, a lawyer evaluates a case and identifies defenses, as mentioned above. Then, based on these defenses, an attorney usually sets a case for a plea or trial. A pretrial hearing is usually part of the process, regardless of the setting selection.

At this hearing, a lawyer may try to reduce the amount of evidence prosecutors can use at trial. The less evidence they have, the harder it is for them to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Fifth Amendment violations are especially common in juvenile cases. Officers often bully children to get information. Such bullying is illegal. Under current laws, officers must administer Miranda rights (you have the right to remain silent, etc.) before they ask any questions. So, this right applies whether officers arrest suspects or ask them to come to the police station for a friendly chat.

Resolving Juvenile Forgery Claims

The aforementioned plea bargain usually involves full removal, partial removal, or close supervision.

Full removal, which is rarely appropriate in forgery and other nonviolent cases, usually means confinement in a juvenile detention center or foster care placement. Partial removal, which is a little more common, usually means some time at a secure halfway house. Closer supervision, the most common remedy, means compliance with various conditions, like reporting to a supervision officer and staying in school.

The easiest option is not necessarily the best option. Assume Ralph has some bad friends who convince him to forge a prescription label or otherwise get in trouble. Full or partial removal might be a good option for Ralph. He needs to get away from those friends and reset his life, or else he will keep getting in trouble.

Rely on a Gwinnett County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Juvenile forgery convictions have serious consequences. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Norcross, contact Zimmerman & Associates, Attorneys at Law. We routinely handle matters in Fulton County and nearby jurisdictions.