What to Do If Your Child Is Arrested
Has your child been arrested for a crime in Raleigh or elsewhere in North Carolina? If so, don’t panic. and be sure to contact us right away. The experienced Raleigh criminal defense attorneys at Kurtz & Blum, PLLC understand the fear and stress that parents face when their child faces criminal charges. We’re here to help defend your child against the charges. We will do everything we can to minimize the impact the criminal justice system will have on their life and their future.
Since 1998, Kurtz & Blum, PLLC has been handling criminal cases for clients throughout North Carolina. Our highly skilled legal team has over 50 years of combined experience. We take a collaborative approach to handling challenging juvenile cases. When you hire a Raleigh criminal defense attorney at Kurtz & Blum, PLLC, you can rest easier knowing that we’re in your corner. Call now for a free and confidential consultation and learn how we can put our skills, knowledge, and resources to work for your child.
Immediate Steps to Take If Your Child Is Ever Arrested
If possible, don’t allow your child to be questioned by police without an attorney present. Instead, contact us immediately to get the knowledgeable counsel you need. It’s especially important to keep the following in mind:
- Your child has the same rights as an adult when under arrest, and even has special protections like the right to have a parent present during interrogation
- Police officers must have probable cause to search your child
- Your child has the right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment
- Your child has the right to know the charges being filed against them
- Your child has the right to legal counsel
What Are the Penalty Options?
The goal of the North Carolina juvenile justice system is not to punish your child. Instead, the goal is to rehabilitate juvenile offenders. When a minor is charged as a juvenile, they will not have a trial by jury or be subject to the same sentences that adult offenders receive, such as mandatory prison time or costly fines.
Depending on the severity of the crime and the facts and circumstances surrounding it, your child could receive:
- A verbal warning
- A fine
- Required counseling
- Electronic monitoring and/or house arrest
- Community service
- Placement into foster care
- Commitment to a juvenile detention center
- Juvenile and adult jail (known as a “blended sentence”)
Some of the most common criminal charges for juveniles in North Carolina include:
- Identity theft
- Computer crimes
- Minor in possession of alcohol
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
- Sex crimes
- Drug charges
- Assault/violent crimes
Under North Carolina’s Juvenile Code, any child who is charged with a crime has the right to have a parent present during in-custody interrogations. Their court records are also subject to strict confidentiality rules. However, juveniles don’t have the right to a trial by jury, right to represent themselves in court, the right to a speedy trial, or the right to post bail.
What is Juvenile Court?
The North Carolina Juvenile Justice system deals with complaints against minors who are alleged to be either delinquent or undisciplined.
When a minor participates in conduct that would be deemed a crime if committed by an adult, the behavior is known as “delinquent.” Examples of delinquent minor crimes include misdemeanors, such as vandalism or shoplifting.
An “undisciplined” juvenile is one who is outside of the discipline of their parents or guardians. When juveniles engage in conduct that is inappropriate but does not amount to a crime, they are considered to be “undisciplined.” Examples include skipping school or running away from home.
Juvenile courts can impose consequences that seek to rehabilitate so-called delinquent or undisciplined minors. In juvenile court, minors do not get criminal records, even if they are convicted. Rather, they have a juvenile record that remains sealed. In juvenile court, minors are not charged, they are “petitioned.” They have “adjudication hearings” instead of trials.
When Can Juveniles Be Charged as Adults?
North Carolina’s Raise the Age initiative changed the law so that 16- and 17-year-old minors are no longer automatically tried as adults. Most juveniles will be dealt with in the juvenile justice system, but there are some exceptions.
In North Carolina, there are a few ways a child can be prosecuted as an adult, such as:
- The court has the option to transfer jurisdiction to adult court if the minor committed a felony offense and was at least 13 years of age. If the alleged felony is a Class A felony (murder) and the court finds probable cause, the transfer is mandatory.
- A juvenile who is transferred to and convicted in a criminal court will be prosecuted as an adult for any criminal offense that occurs after the criminal court conviction.
Speak to a Raleigh Juvenile Crime Lawyer today
If your child was accused of or charged with a crime in Raleigh, Kurtz & Blum, PLLC will take these charges seriously and fight to protect their rights. Our goal will be to get the charges reduced or dropped entirely, so call us today to discuss your child’s situation in detail.
We understand what you’re going through, and we know you’re concerned for your child’s future. Our Raleigh juvenile crime lawyers are ready to listen to your story and help you understand the criminal process. We will build the strongest possible case on your child’s behalf. When you hire a North Carolina criminal attorney at Kurtz & Blum, you get the whole team. Call us now or complete our online contact form to learn more about how we can help.