At first thought, most people think of juveniles as being 18 years old or younger, while adults are over 18 years old. However, in the North Carolina legal system, this isn’t necessarily so. If you are a 16-year-old in North Carolina (one of two states in the USA that follow this distinction), you can and will be tried as an adult for both violent and non-violent crimes.
As one of the leading juvenile defense attorneys in Raleigh, we are often confronted with the question, “Why isn’t my 16-year-old son/daughter being charged as a juvenile?” Historically, the law in North Carolina designated 16-year-olds olds as adults, no matter if the juvenile was charged with a misdemeanor or felony. However, this law may soon change.
If you are a juvenile, or a parent of a juvenile, and you were charged with a crime, don’t hesitate and contact the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley in Raleigh. We offer professional, comprehensive criminal defense strategies, and our goal is to prove your innocence, get the charges dropped, or reduce the penalties and long-term consequences of the alleged charges. Call us today at (919) 832-0307.
Possible Changes in North Carolina Juvenile Law
There are only two states in the United States that put adult criminal responsibility on 16-year-olds, including North Carolina and New York. Unfortunately, the statistics regarding youths in adult prisons is not very positive. For instance, youths in adult prisons are more likely to re-offend, and although juvenile records are sealed, youths convicted as an adult will face a criminal record which may haunt them for years to come.
The goal is to turn this system around. The North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice, convened by the North Carolina Supreme Court, released a preliminary proposal in August 2016, asking the state to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18. The General Assembly may consider this proposal in 2017.
In short, if this proposal is accepted, the 18-year-olds may be charged as juveniles for most non-violent crimes and some violent crimes.
Exceptions to the Proposed Changes
There are some exceptions to the proposed changes. For instance, the proposed changes don’t apply to juveniles charged with first-degree murder. The proposed changes may also not apply to the law that allows 13-year-olds to be transferred to adult courts for especially serious or violent crimes.
Nonetheless, most youths don’t commit violent crimes, especially murder. Most North Carolina youth are convicted of non-violent crimes related to drugs and larceny.
Contact Raleigh Juvenile Attorney Dewey Brinkley
These proposed changes will have a major impact on juvenile courts in North Carolina, and it’s always important to have a full understanding of the law if you or your child is arrested in Raleigh, Wake County, or throughout North Carolina.
No matter the exact age of the alleged juvenile offender, we at the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley will do everything under North Carolina law to mitigate the consequences as much as possible. Whether drug crimes, non-violent crimes, or even violent crimes, we realize that adult courts can have dramatic consequences that may lead some convicted juveniles to re-offend and face other difficulties in terms of schooling, housing, and finding a job.
To speak with attorney Brinkley regarding your case, make sure to call our Raleigh law firm as soon as possible. For a free, no-obligation consultation with our firm, call us today at (919) 832-0307.