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Charlotte Juvenile Crimes Attorney

What is Juvenile Crime in North Carolina?

After our state passed the Raise the Age Act in 2017, the cutoff age between juvenile and adult status for criminal offenses became 18 years old. For anyone charged with a criminal offense under the age of 18, the case will originate in juvenile court and will be scheduled there initially. Any class H or class I felony or misdemeanor will remain in juvenile court. However, for Class A-G felonies committed by 16 and 17-year-olds, transfer to adult court will occur if the state gives notice of an indictment, or if there is a finding of probable cause by the court. By requiring that all juvenile offenses begin in juvenile court, the Act gives prosecutors some discretion to keep cases in juvenile court by reducing the charges based upon further investigation.

How Does Juvenile Court Work?

If a case remains in juvenile court, there are several issues that will need to be decided right away. The case can move forward to court or the matter can be routed into a diversion program which can result in a dismissal of the case. If the juvenile is in a detention facility, the court must determine when and how they can get out of custody. There might be placement issues with housing and family issues that are being investigated by the Department of Social Services. The case will be assigned to a Juvenile Court Counselor who will make important decisions in the welfare of the child. All of these concerns need to be sorted out before decisions are made on a juvenile case.

Juveniles are given a first appearance where they are informed of their charges, an indictment date where formal charges are delivered, and discovery or evidence is provided to them. Juveniles can then request a trial in front of a judge, or they can choose to accept responsibility for their charges which results in a sentence called a disposition. Juveniles are granted the same constitutional rights in criminal cases as adults are. Dispositions can consist of probation or in the most intensive cases, confinement at a Youth Development Center or YDC. A YDC is the equivalent of prison for an adult. A disposition in juvenile court for any Class E-I felony or misdemeanor is automatically expunged from an adult record.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Child in Juvenile Court?

For many reasons, it is very important for your child to have adequate representation for a juvenile crime. The initial decision over whether the case should go to court or be diverted for a dismissal is incredibly important. Hiring a lawyer who can advocate for your child early on can make the difference between even going to court at all. Even after that initial decision, your child will need a lawyer who will guide them through a difficult and complicated process. They will need an advocate who fights for them in the courtroom, one who knows the judges and court counselors. Juvenile dispositions can have lasting consequences, even if they are expunged from a child’s record.

If your child is charged with a very serious juvenile matter, like a sexual assault, or a violent crime, they might need to fight the matter in court to avoid detention at a YDC. These trials are just as complex as they are for adult defendants and they will need a lawyer who is experienced. A lawyer who can fight for them. We are ready to advocate for your child.

We have experience defending against juvenile charges in NC:

  • Felony Larceny
  • Possession of Stolen Motor Vehicle
  • Breaking or Entering Motor Vehicle
  • Possession of Marijuana
  • Driving after Consuming Alcohol While Under 21
  • Possession of Handgun by Minor
  • Carrying Concealed Gun
  • Conspiracy
  • Common Law Robbery
  • Robbery With a Dangerous Weapon
  • Discharging Firearm into Occupied Property
  • Attempted First Degree Murder
  • First Degree Murder

Please contact our law firm at (704) 931-5535 to schedule a consultation with our Juvenile Law attorneys.

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