The Designated Felony Act, O.C.G.A. Section 15-11-63, allows for children between ages 13 and 17 to be sentenced to between one and five years in a youth prison or certain serious crimes. However, this Act was revised by the General Assembly and now is significantly better adjusted to the realities of juvenile punishment.
The new Designated Felony Act, which goes into effect January 1, 2014, creates two classes of designated felonies. "Class A designated felonies" are the more serious crimes, such as aggravated battery, certain types of aggravated assault, arson, kidnapping, attempted murder, and certain criminal gang activity. "Class B designated felonies" are less serious crimes, such as robbery or smash and grab burglary.
The difference between these two categories is the potential punishment. For Class A designated felonies, the child is subject to up to 60 months confinement in a youth prison, followed by up to 12 months of intensive supervision. or Class B designated felonies, the child may be placed in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice for up to 36 months, but can only be confined in a youth prison for up to 18 months. Once released from confinement, the child is subject to up to 6 months of intensive supervision.
Even under the new Designated Felony Act, the penalties are severe--including being confined in a youth prison. If your child has been charged with a designated felony, it is imperative to retain defense counsel immediately. Call me at 678-666-4104 for a free consultation.