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Raise the Age

Juvenile Justice Act One thing is for certain, the Juvenile Justice Act and its efforts to ameliorate the “School-to-Prison Pipeline” through implementation of “Raise the Age” will have consequences.

Having said that, there remain numerous unanswered questions relative to the 2017 landmark legislation:

  • Will the legislation serve its stated purposes?
  • Will the prosecution of criminal charges in Charlotte in Juvenile Court have a long term, positive effect on crime rates?
  • Will recidivism rates drop?
  • Will it affect how criminal charges in North Carolina are instituted and prosecuted?
  • Will Raise the Age affect the “School-to-Prison Pipeline?”
  • Will law enforcement embrace Raise the Age?

The Mecklenburg County Council for Children’s Rights, “. . .Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s leading advocate for children,” shares their “concerns about some JJAC recommendations,” in their May 7, 2018 blog post.

“It’s fair to say the Council’s concerns mirror those of criminal defense lawyers in Charlotte and throughout North Carolina.”

– Bill Powers, Charlotte Criminal Lawyer

While we were one of the last, if not the last state in the country to adopt Raise the Age, has North Carolina learned from others’ experiences. Have we planned enough for the monumental transition?

Have we allocated the resources necessary to give the well-meaning changes to the criminal laws and NC criminal procedures an opportunity to succeed?

How will Raise the Age affect criminal defense in the future and legal representation of felony or misdemeanor charges?

What is Raise the Age?

It may come as a surprise to some that for decades, children have been prosecuted as adults.

Criminal charges, both minor and serious, (felony or misdemeanor) are leveled against minors who cannot vote, cannot buy alcohol, and who ordinarily are required to attend school.

Changes in the law pursuant to the Juvenile Justice Act acknowledges children should not automatically be prosecuted as adults in every instance.

“Raising the Age,” in simple terms, refers to the idea that people accused of criminal charges are prosecuted as adults when they are adults. . .that being 18 years old.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Even after the 2017 legislation and the August 1, 2019 modifications to the “RTA” (Raise the Age) law in North Carolina, there are some serious criminal charges where defendants under the age of 18 may still be treated as adults.

Notably, the includes all motor vehicle offenses such as DWI charges (DUI, driving while impaired, etc.), traffic tickets, reckless driving, and even serious felony charges such as Felony Death by Vehicle, Felony Serious Injury by Vehicle, and the related aggravated charges.

Furthermore, even after the passage of RTA, prosecution as an adult for the most serious felony charges very much remains an option.

What does Raise the Age Do?
  1. Adult criminal liability/responsibility raised from the age of 16 to 18 years old
  2. Sets forth a process of “transferring” felony criminal charges from Juvenile Court to Superior Court for 16-year-old and 17-year-old defendants involving matters categorized under the NC Criminal Laws as Class A to Class G felony charges
  3. Mandates Law Enforcement and School Officials reduce referrals to the criminal courts matters that are “school based”
  4. Provides victims the right to request prosecutors (the District Attorney) review a decision NOT to bring charges
  5. Increases punishments/consequences of gang related activity
  6. Provides for enhanced “gang assessment” in intake procedures for the Department of Juvenile Justice
  7. North Carolina, statewide database access to District Attorney, Law Enforcement, and Public Defenders
  8. Establishes the JJAC – The Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee to monitor successes and failures to RAT, providing recommendations to the North Carolina General Assembly
Related Legal Issues and Topics of Interest Juvenile Court Charges
  1. Juvenile Charges
  2. Underage Alcohol Possession
  3. Drive After Consuming < 21 Charges in NC?
  4. Driving Contract with Your Teenager
  5. DWI / DUI Impaired Driving FAQs
  6. Council for Children’s Rights – Raise the Age
Juvenile Court Charges – Criminal Defense Attorneys

Bill Powers has substantial experience handling juvenile court charges in Charlotte, including serious felony charges, transfer hearings, custody review (bond hearings).

“We enjoy helping young people and their families through difficult times. We help explain the criminal charges, guiding clients through what has become a somewhat complicated process.”

– Bill Powers, Juvenile Court Lawyer

Given the recent changes to the law, it makes sense to seek legal representation by an attorney like Bill Powers with more than 25 years legal experience.

Legal consultations for criminal charges in juvenile court are free of charge. They’re also strictly confidential.

Call Bill Powers NOW: 704-342-4357

You may also email directly at: Bill@CarolinaAttorneys.com

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