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When kids get into trouble, they are usually treated differently under the law. The juvenile system accounts for many of the same crimes, but applies different standards and results for a conviction.
If your child is facing potential juvenile charges, his or her future could be dramatically changed by what happens. As a result of the proceedings, your child could lose educational opportunities or even be subjected to a form of incarceration, where he or she will be surrounded by juvenile delinquents. Even if your child is troubled, it's important that he or she be treated fairly — something that fails to happen all too often.
Please contact Capital Law Firm for a free initial consultation. Experienced representation is just a phone call away.
Raleigh Juvenile Lawyer
Our Raleigh juvenile lawyers will fight for justice for your child if he or she is facing juvenile charges. The attorneys at Capital Law Firm represent his or her best interests against a process that may seek to the throw the book at your child. Your child's future is valuable, and a knowledgeable lawyer can help defend that future.
Call us today at (919) 808-6009 to schedule a consultation about your child's juvenile charges.
Purpose of Juvenile System in North Carolina
The juvenile court system oversees punishment and rehabilitation of delinquent juveniles. A delinquent juvenile is a person who is younger than 16 but older than 6 who has committed any crime or infraction, including traffic violations.
The court system also oversees undisciplined juveniles. These include juveniles who are regularly absent from school, those found in places it is illegal for a juvenile to be, those that have run away from home for more than 24 hours, and/or those that are found to be beyond the discipline of parents, guardians or custodians.
Determining if a young person is delinquent or undisciplined has a major impact on the outcome of the proceedings. An undisciplined juvenile will be placed on protective supervision, while a delinquent juvenile will be put on probation, or even committed to a juvenile facility.
Juveniles have a right to an attorney, and, in fact, must be represented by counsel per North Carolina law. If a juvenile cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for him or her. However, the juvenile, or the juvenile's parents, can also select and hire a lawyer, to avoid having one chosen for them by the court.
The court may also assign a guardian ad litem to a juvenile. The guardian ad litem is to serve an independent role to advocate for the child's best interests. The guardian ad litem does not act or serve in the same role as an attorney.
Wake County Juvenile Process
Once a child is arrested, he or she will face a detention hearing. At the hearing, the court will determine whether the child should be released back into the custody of the parents or should be held in "detention," which can mean a juvenile facility.
The decision will likely rest on the history of the juvenile and on the severity of the charges he or she faces. Typically, juveniles face charges such as:
More serious charges may not only result in the juvenile remaining in detention, it could result in the charges being transferred to adult court. If the juvenile is released, he or she may have additional restrictions, like curfews.
There is also no jury trial to determine guilt or innocence. A judge hears the case and makes all decisions. A juvenile's Raleigh criminal defense attorney can represent them in this proceeding and show why there is not sufficient evidence to continue proceedings. If the judge rules the evidence insufficient, the charges may be dismissed, ending the case.
If the juvenile is decided to be merely "undisciplined," he or she may be ordered into protective supervision. Under protective supervision, the juvenile must keep out of trouble, attend school with passing grades, abide by a curfew and report to a counselor.
If the juvenile is delinquent, he or she may be ordered to a term of probation. Under probation, the juvenile must meet all the requirements of protective supervision, and, additionally, must submit to random drug tests and warrantless searches, and may be ordered to electronic monitoring.
A juvenile may also be ordered to commitment in a youth development center, often referred to as "juvenile hall" or "juvy." The juvenile may be ordered to stay there until his or her 21st birthday, depending on the charges.
Most juvenile charges may be expunged. However, they may not be expunged until at least two years after conviction or until after the sentence has been performed, whichever is later. That means college admissions officers may be able to see the charges.
The impact of a juvenile offense can have a grave impact on your child's life. A defense lawyer experienced in representing children and teenagers can make a big difference. Our attorneys at Capital Law Firm will fight to protect the rights of your child. Call us today at (919) 808-6009 to set up a FREE consultation.