THINK ABOUT IT! ONE BAD DECISION… ONE LIFETIME OF CONSEQUENCES


(DOWNLOAD THE POSTER HERE.)


Every case is different, but a finding of delinquency (the equivalent of "guilty") in Juvenile Court COULD…

1. Keep you from getting a driver's license.

  • A judge can delay you from getting a driver's license or suspend the driver's license you already have.[i]
  • Drug offensesresult in automatic suspensions of your license.[ii]

2. Cause you to be suspended or expelled, even if your charges had nothing to do with school.

  • You could be sent to alternative school, suspended or expelled.[iii]

3. Prevent you from joining the military.

  • While each branch of the military has different rules, most of the time they will ask you to release information about any adjudications (juvenile findings of guilt).
  • The military considers anyone convicted (or adjudicated, which is considered a conviction by the federal government) of a felony as not eligible to join, though exceptions can be made by asking for a moral waiver.[iv]

4. Have consequences for college admissions.

  • A college or university may ask questions about juvenile adjudications.

5. Keep you from the job of your dreams.

  • A background check used by most employers in Georgia will not find a juvenile record, but federal agencies and each state's professional licensing boards (if you want to be a lawyer, a doctor, a nurse, etc.) decide whether or not they consider juvenile court adjudications to be counted as convictions.
    • For example, the Controlled Substances Act treats juvenile adjudications as convictions for purposes of commercial driver's licenses.[v]

6. Force your family to move.

  • Landlords, including those who operate Section 8 housing, often prohibit any "criminal activity" by anyone living on their property. In these cases, any crime committed by anyone in the home can result in your being evicted.[vi]
  • Past "criminal activity" by anyone in the home can be used as a reason for a landlord to refuse to rent a home to your family.

7. Have immigration consequences.

  • For noncitizens, juvenile court cases can prevent you from becoming a legal resident or a citizen or could cause you to have to leave the country.[vii]

8. Result in having to register as a sex offender, depending on where you live or go on vacation.

  • Georgia does not require children found delinquent ("guilty") of sex offenses in juvenile court to register as sex offenders.
  • However, other states do require children to register for sex offenses even if they were handled in juvenile court in another state.
  • In other states, staying a few days may be long enough to be considered a resident of that state and required to register as a sex offender.

9. Be used against you at a bond or sentencing hearing if you face charges as an adult.

  • Georgia allows prosecutors and Superior Courts to access juvenile records if someone is prosecuted for a crime.[viii]

REMEMBER

  • You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested or charged with an offense.
  • DO NOT talk to anyone about what happened without talking to a lawyer.This includes family, friends, police, and posts on social media!
  • The only questions you should answer without a lawyer are your name, birthdate and address.
  • DO NOT sign any statements about what happened without talking to a lawyer.
 

[i] O.C.G.A. § 15-11-601(a)(9);O.C.G.A.§ 15-11-630 (f)(2)

[ii] O.C.G.A.§ 40-5-75

[iii] O.C.G.A. § 20-2-751.5(c);O.C.G.A. § 20-2-768

[iv] 10 U.S.C.A. § 504.

[v] 23 U.S.C.A.O.C.G.A. § 159

[vi] 42 U.S.C.A. § 1437a;24 CFR § 5.851

[vii] 8 U.S.C.A § 1182;8 U.S.C. § 1227

[viii] O.C.G.A. § 15-11-704;O.C.G.A. § 15-11-708