Juvenile - FAQ

E-mail Print PDF
My child has been arrested what’s next?
If your child has been arrested and detained he will have his first appearance in court within 72 hours of his arrest. In the case of a holiday weekend, he will have his first appearance at the next available court date. If your child was arrested but not detained you will be served with papers notifying you when to come to court.

We just got papers saying my child must appear in court, what does that mean?
If your child has been served with papers to appear in court, he has been charged with a delinquent offense. He must appear in court on the stated date and time to answer to the charges. The first appearance in court is an arraignment. This is the child’s opportunity to admit or deny the charges. If he admits the charges that day, the court will do disposition. The disposition is the sentence that the court imposes. It can be a range of things from community service, curfews, housebound detention, to detention in a Youth Development Campus (YDC). If your child denies the charges a hearing date will be set for a later date. At the hearing the District Attorney’s Office will present their case against your child. If he is adjudicated delinquent (found guilty) of the charges the court will then do disposition. If the court finds your child not guilty, then the case is over and there will be no disposition. Your child has a right to an attorney through the entire court proceeding. If you do not feel as if your can afford a lawyer for your child, you may contact the Juvenile Court Clerk’s Office (478) 542– 2060 to see if you qualify to have one appointed. Rabb Wilkerson is the public defender for Juvenile Court. If Mr. Wilkerson is appointed to your case it is your responsibility to contact him PRIOR to court. If you choose not have an attorney for your child and have witnesses that you want subpoenaed (papers ordering a witness to come to court) you must contact Juvenile Court and give them the information PRIOR to your hearing date.

I don’t have money for an attorney but the Court says I make too much money to qualify, what can I do?
Under the law, if your child wants an attorney he has a right to be represented by one. If you can not afford one, please contact the court and they may help you make alternate arrangements. This is true even if you are the one bringing charges against your child. If you child wants an attorney, they have a right to speak with one. These proceedings may result in his detention or the loss of other freedoms.

I filed ungovernable charges or runaway charges against my child, but we have worked things out. Can I dismiss those charges?
Under Georgia law, a parent of a child who has never been before the court before may dismiss the first ungovernable or runaway petition they file. It is important however that you notify the District Attorney’s Office PRIOR to your child’s arraignment. If you frequently try to drop charges against your child, it may result in the Juvenile Division’s refusal to take any more complaints from you regarding this child. Taking your child to court is a very serious step. You must be ready and willing to allow court involvement. This may mean curfews and in home counseling. If you are not willing to accept that type of help, then Juvenile Court may not be for you.

Is there a boot camp that I can send my unruly child to?
There are no longer any state sponsored boot camps in the State of Georgia. They have been replaced with Short Term Programs. These programs are nothing like boot camp. If you are interested in boot camp you may want to look for a private program. For 16 and up there is a program sponsored by the Army National Guard called Youth Challenge. It is a voluntary program, but it is very successful when the students want to participate.

Quick Info


District Attorney George Hartwig

George is Houston County's newest District Attorney and is responsible for servious violent felonies and homicides. (more)


LawDog Attorney Access!

We are offering online discovery including case files, incident reports, and audio and video files. Sign up today! (more)


Victim Assistance

Victim advocates are available to help victims of crime overcome the sometimes painful process (more)