North Carolina's Raise the Age Law for Juveniles

Posted by Josh Valentine | Nov 04, 2019

North Carolina is the last state to adopt a “raise the age” law. Under the new law, teenagers under the age of 18 will no longer be automatically tried as adults in court. Session Law 2019-186 was enacted on August 1, 2019, and will go into effect on December 1, 2019.

Changes Under the Raise the Age Law

A delinquent juvenile still includes 16- and 17-year-olds who commit crimes and infractions. However, under the new law, Chapter 20 motor vehicle offenses will be excluded from juvenile jurisdiction. 

Some juveniles will be excluded from juvenile jurisdiction, including those who have previously been transferred to and convicted in superior court. However, juveniles who have been convicted for motor vehicle violations punishable as a misdemeanor or infraction will be excepted from the exclusion. Felony motor vehicle violations and misdemeanor DWI convictions will be excluded from juvenile jurisdiction.

Individuals under the age of 18 who are charged with Class H or I felonies will require a transfer hearing before they are transferred to adult court. Juveniles charged with Class A-G felonies will be transferred to adult court upon notice of an indictment or finding of probable cause. In these cases, a probable cause hearing must be conducted within 90 days of the juvenile's first appearance. All other complaints will begin in juvenile court.

When charges are remanded to district court for juvenile adjudication, the court shall expunge the remanded charges. The court will also order expunction of DNA records related to the remanded charges. 

Second Chance for Young People 

Advocates for the new law believe the change will keep communities safer and allow young people to have a second chance at avoiding a life as a career criminal. According to research, teens who are arrested are less likely to reoffend if they are prosecuted as minors. Additionally, young people who are incarcerated in adult prisons are at a greater risk of being sexually assaulted in prison than adult offenders. 

A criminal record can be very harmful to a young person's future. A felony conviction can prevent a young person from accessing financial aid for college, limit their job options, and even restrict their housing options. By treating kids in the juvenile system instead of the adult justice system, young people may be more likely to recover and lead a successful life. 

Young People Arrested in North Carolina

The new Raise the Age law may give more flexibility for young people arrested on criminal charges in North Carolina to avoid a permanent criminal record. If your child was arrested for a misdemeanor or felony, talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Caulder & Valentine Law Firm, PLLC, we have helped young people and their families deal with criminal charges to stay out of jail and avoid a criminal record. Contact us today in Shelby for a consultation.

About the Author

Josh Valentine

You could say Josh has a God-given ability for sustaining long-term relationships. He and his wife first met in elementary school and went to Gardner Webb University (GWU) together, where they tied for number 1 in their class. Then, they both started law school on the same day of their graduation and got married during their first semester. He has also known his law partner Blake Caulder since Kindergarten. Theirs is the perfect partnership. “He’s the brake; I am the accelerator,” Josh says. Both Josh and his wife attended an innovative program at Charlotte Law School that allowed them to complete law school in two years instead of the typical three. His wife graduated and passed the North Carolina bar at age 20, becoming one of the youngest attorneys in the state. He readily admits she’s smarter than him. Of course, Josh went on to pass the North Carolina State Bar himself and later the South Carolina State Bar. While in school, he was Associate Editor of the Law Review and received accolades like Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society membership, Order of the Crown, Pro Bono Honors, CALI Awards (highest grade). In his career as a lawyer, he has been admitted to the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, is a member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys, and completed training for DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. Josh has also been named to the Top 40 Under 40 for Criminal Defense by The National Trial Lawyers, the Business North Carolina 2019 Legal Elite for Criminal Defense, and the 10 Best Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys three years in a row (2016, 2017, and 2018). Community involvement has been important to Josh all his life. In high school, he participated in building a Holocaust museum that has become internationally regarded. He and his wife are actively engaged in animal rescue, which currently means seven cats and two kittens. He served in prison ministry and assisted with fundraiser banquets there, and he provides pro bono and reduced fee legal services to those in need. As if all of that weren’t enough, Josh also mentors high risk youth and helps with his church’s youth group. He participates in other community volunteer projects involving construction, remodeling, drywall, painting, and landscaping. He’s an active student of the Bible and has traveled to Israel, Brazil, and Europe for mission work. No one can say Josh isn’t a well-rounded individual. In his spare time, he likes to play softball, basketball, and tennis, and he can play the piano and trombone. Sometimes on weekends, believe it or not, he enjoys pouring and finishing concrete with friends who own a concrete and grading business. In his law practice, Josh has made it a point to develop positive relationships with officers, clerks, and district attorneys, which has proven invaluable in delivering positive results for his clients. It’s important to him to both listen to his clients and fight for them. Law enforcement officers have important responsibilities to keep our communities safe and uphold the law, but one of the responsibilities of attorneys is to make sure officers do their job correctly. Josh considers it his job to hold them accountable for their actions. Josh is a person of deep faith. He knows that the established order of our universe and strength of America’s Judeo-Christian influenced court system is built on God’s word. His passion to serve each client with innovation, excellence and integrity is a byproduct of his faith. When asked why he became a lawyer, Josh says, “All through my life, I have personally witnessed family members and very close friends endure divorce, child custody battles, bankruptcy, civil lawsuits, and even fraudulent criminal accusations. I both saw and experienced the stress such events can place on an individual, and I realized that everyone, at some point in their life, needs hope, comfort, and encouragement. In each one of those situations, the person who was best situated to provide that vital support was their lawyer. So that’s why I became an attorney. I understand what you are going through, and I’m here to help you. Our office is focused on meeting your needs and guiding you through what may be the most difficult time of your life.” Education: Charlotte School of Law J.D., Magna Cum Laude Class Rank – 21 of 328 Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review Certification and Concentration in Employment Law Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Order of the Crown Pro Bono Honors CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process I and Contracts I Full Scholarship Gardner-Webb University B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society Bar Admissions: North Carolina State Bar