Raleigh Juvenile Defense Attorney
Learning that your child has been arrested can be terrifying. You likely don’t know what to do, what the laws are regarding juveniles in North Carolina, or where to turn for help. At Kurtz & Blum, our Raleigh juvenile defense attorneys will work with you and your child to fully explain the situation, what your child is facing, and how to fight the charges.
Please call us at (919) 429-8532 to schedule a confidential consultation.
How Our Juvenile Defense Attorneys Can Help You
Having the help of an experienced juvenile defense attorney will increase your child’s chance of success in any juvenile case. Attorneys who take on juvenile cases are extremely familiar with the court procedures, which are very different than those in adult proceedings.
When our team takes on your juvenile defense case, we may:
- Attempt to get the case diverted or handled informally so your child doesn’t have a juvenile court record
- Arrange for your child’s release from pre-adjudication detention
- Attempt to keep your child from being tried as an adult
- Act as your child’s advocate throughout the entire proceeding
Our attorneys understand that kids make mistakes and that they shouldn’t have to pay for those errors for the rest of their lives. We’ll work hard to protect your child’s future.
What Is Juvenile Crime?
In North Carolina, a juvenile delinquent is any person between the ages of 6 and 16 who is found in violation of the law. Prior to 2017, North Carolina law stated that anyone 16 or older was to be automatically charged as an adult.
However, in December 2019 some 16- and 17-year-olds were able to have their cases heard in juvenile court. This was applied to those charged with misdemeanors or low-level felonies, such as larceny, break-ins, and other non-violent crimes.
Types of Juvenile Cases
Although a juvenile may be charged with committing any number of crimes, there are some that are more common among young people than others. These include:
- Assault/battery: This may involve physically hitting or pushing another person, or physically bullying someone. Even verbal bullying can result in a charge of Communicating Threats.
- Drug and alcohol offenses: Like in all other states, the minimum drinking age is 21 in North Carolina. Those under this age can be charged with an offense for consuming, distributing, or even just purchasing or possessing drugs or alcohol.
- DWI/DUI crimes: Teens can be charged with driving while intoxicated. For a teen, driving after drinking any amount of alcohol is illegal, even if the driver is not impaired.
- Theft: Most often this juvenile offense includes shoplifting and theft of backpacks and bicycles.
- Truancy: According to North Carolina law, all children between the ages of 7 and 16 must attend school. If they don’t and still do not return to school after a verbal warning, parents could be charged with failure to comply. Additionally, the child could be placed on a diversion contract.
- Vandalism: The most common of these juvenile offenses are keying cars, drawing graffiti, drawing on walls, and slashing tires.
Our experienced juvenile defense lawyer in Raleigh can help with these and all other juvenile cases. Please contact us today to learn how we can make a difference in your child’s case.
What to Do If Your Child Is Arrested
The moments after a child’s arrest are hectic and confusing for everyone involved. As a parent, you likely feel confused, angry, and upset. However, it’s important to remain calm so that you can take the following very important steps:
- Do not rush to judgment. Find out where your child is being held and then go there.
- Find out as much as you can about the situation. Try to listen calmly, and ask to speak to your child before the interview to get his or her side of the story.
- Call a Raleigh juvenile defense lawyer right away. Your child has rights, but yours may be limited. An attorney can advise on whether or not you can be present for the interview. However, your attorney may ensure he or she is present or may stop your child being interviewed entirely.
- Tell your attorney as much information as you can about your child’s situation.
- Instruct your child not to speak to anyone without first speaking to a lawyer. Make sure you also don’t say anything that could incriminate the child.
- Gather any documents that could help your child’s case, including any achievements and certificates, and collect character reference letters from church leaders, teachers, and anyone else willing to provide one.
- Remain supportive and work with your child and attorney for the best possible outcome. It’s natural to feel angry, but it’s not going to help the case.
While an attorney can take on a juvenile case at almost any point, it’s best to have one by your side from the beginning, as soon as an arrest happens. This will ensure your attorney is familiar with the case and has every opportunity to build a solid defense for your child. It may allow the attorney to prevent the police from violating your child’s rights and prevent your child from making the case worse.
What Are the Penalty Options?
The juvenile court system is very different from the adult court system, including the sentences one faces after being convicted of a crime. After a juvenile has been charged, he or she will face a number of penalty options, including:
- A verbal warning
- A fine
- Mandatory counseling
- Community service
- Electronic monitoring
- House arrest
- Placement into another home or foster care
- Commitment to a Youth Development Center
- Blended sentences, which is a combination of juvenile and adult jail
In the best-case scenario, a counselor will determine court intervention isn’t necessary and will close the case immediately. In other instances, however, children may face very serious penalties, including time in adult jail and a permanent criminal record. Our attorneys will work hard to prevent this from happening.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney About Your Juvenile Case Today
At Kurtz & Blum, our Raleigh juvenile criminal defense lawyers believe that children shouldn’t have to pay for a mistake for the rest of their lives. If your child has been charged with a crime, contact us online for your confidential consultation.
Your child has rights. We will ensure they are upheld throughout the entire process and work hard for the best possible outcome for your child.