As a parent, you do your very best to make sure that your children stay safe, healthy, and out of trouble. You try to instill the best values within them and guide them on the right path to success. But sometimes, your kids make mistakes anyway.
Hearing that your child has been arrested can be a nightmare, but finding out that it’s for a felony or serious crime can be heartbreaking. Children who commit crimes generally go through the North Carolina juvenile justice system. Unfortunately, that’s not always what happens.
So What’s the Difference?
The North Carolina juvenile court system uses things such as education, supervision, and community service in an effort to prevent the child from reoffending. This is very different from the state’s adult justice system in that it typically punishes offenders as a means to prevent repeat offenses.
When Can a Minor be Charged as an Adult?
In North Carolina children between the ages of six and 17 can be charged as a juvenile. While the state used to prosecute minors as young as 16 as adults (dependent upon the case), the 2017 “Raise the Age” law increased that age from 16 to 18. Therefore now all minors are prosecuted in juvenile court to start. However, there are three different ways in which they can still be prosecuted as an adult in North Carolina:
- Mandatory Waiver: The jurisdiction must be transferred to adult criminal court if the defendant is alleged to have committed a Class A felony (i.e. first-degree murder).
- Discretionary Waiver: The jurisdiction may be transferred to adult criminal court considering the minor’s criminal record, specific facts of the case, and if the minor was at least 13 years old when the alleged felony offense was committed.
- Previous Transfer: Once a case is transferred to adult criminal court, all subsequent offenses must be tried there as well.
Joel Hancock at Hancock Law Firm, PLLC Helps Those in North Carolina Who Have Been Charged with a Crime
Regardless of whether your child has been charged in juvenile or adult court, a qualified criminal defense attorney will often settle the case out-of-court in an effort to minimize the charges and/or the sentence.
No matter which court you or your child is charged in, a conviction can have a severe and long-lasting impact on your life. From finding a place to live to securing a job position, it can prove very difficult with certain convictions on your record. That’s why it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we fully understand what is at stake and will do everything that we can to help you fight these charges. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!