North Carolina is the last state to change its laws to raise the age when juveniles are charged as an adult. On December 1, 2019, our state’s “Raise the Age” law went into effect. Here’s what you need to know about it if your minor child is charged with committing a crime.
How North Carolina Is Raising the Age for Juveniles
Under the new “Raise the Age” law, key changes were made to our juvenile criminal laws. They include:
- The juvenile court system has jurisdiction in criminal cases of minors under 18 years old rather than only those under 16 years old. All felony or misdemeanor crimes committed by a juvenile will initially be brought in juvenile court.
- If a minor under 18 years old is charged with a Class A through G felony crime, their case would automatically be transferred to Superior Court after they are indicted in juvenile court.
- If a minor under 18 years old is charged with a misdemeanor or Class H or I felony, their case would be decided in juvenile court. However, the court has the discretion to transfer a Class H or I felony case to Superior Court.
In addition, there are new exceptions to the “once an adult, always an adult provision,” which can bar a minor who is 16 or 17 years old from having their case decided in juvenile court if they have a prior criminal conviction. Under the new law, a juvenile who was convicted of a felony or impaired driving misdemeanor offense before the “Raise the Age” law went into effect must be tried as an adult, and there would be no juvenile court jurisdiction over their case. Others could have their case decided in juvenile court instead.
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