Earlier this month, we discussed North Carolina's new “raise the age” law for juveniles. The raise the age law would no longer automatically try suspects under the age of 18 as adults. However, the legislature has also signed a number of other laws that apply to juvenile justice and teen court access. If your child is facing charges in North Carolina, contact Caulder & Valentine Law Firm, PLLC, for a consultation.
Multiple Referrals to Teen Court
Under G.S. § 7B-1706, teen court provides a diversion plan for young people facing certain charges. If the juvenile and the juvenile's parents complete the terms of the diversion plan, a petition will not be filed against the individual. If the juvenile violates the agreement, a petition may be filed against the juvenile.
Diversion plan contracts are also not public records and the charges will generally not follow the individual into their adult life. Diversion plan contracts are destroyed when the juvenile reaches the age of 18 or when the juvenile is no longer under the jurisdiction of the court.
Previously, a juvenile could only be referred to teen court once. However, under the new law, a juvenile can avail themselves of teen court more than once.
Expunging Charges for Young Victims of Trafficking
Another law that went into effect on July 1, 2019, will make it simpler for young victims of human trafficking to have criminal charges expunged from their record. Previously, juveniles with adjudicated offenses that were a result of being a victim of human trafficking had to wait at least 18 months after release from jurisdiction, without adjudication or conviction of other felony or misdemeanor offense, before being eligible for expunction. The new law removes the waiting period requirement.
Photographing Juveniles at Show-Ups
There was previously some conflict between regulations that restricted photographing some juveniles but sometimes allowing photographing some juveniles during show-ups for certain offenses. A change in the law, effective June 26, 2019, provides clarification that allows photographing certain juveniles at the time and place of a show-up, for juveniles 10-years-old and over who are facing nondivertable offenses or common law robbery. These juveniles must be photographed at the time and place of a show-up. These photographs are not public records and are to be kept separate from any adult records. The photos are to be retained or disposed of following existing juvenile code provisions.
Changes to North Carolina's Juvenile Justice Laws
These new laws, together with the raise the age law, should provide more opportunities for young people who are caught up with the wrong crowd. Giving young people the opportunity to learn from their mistakes will allow them to become productive members of society. If your child was arrested for a misdemeanor or felony, talk to an experienced juvenile defense attorney.
At Caulder & Valentine Law Firm, PLLC, we have helped teens and their families deal with juvenile charges to avoid a permanent record. Contact us today in Shelby for a consultation.