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Juvenile Transfer Hearings

Experienced Charlotte Juvenile Defense Attorneys Dedicated to Protect the Rights of North Carolina Youth

The Olsinski Law Firm handles a wide range of Charlotte juvenile delinquency matters. Our dedicated team understands the sensitive nature of these hearings, which can decide whether a juvenile will be tried as an adult. We navigate these complex proceedings with care, ensuring that the rights and futures of young individuals are vigorously defended.

Our firm represents minors in delinquency proceedings and adults facing criminal charges, bringing a passionate and focused approach to juvenile justice. We believe in fighting for the best possible outcomes, recognizing the impact of these early legal encounters on a minor's life. Our attorneys are committed to providing strong advocacy and personalized support throughout the legal process. Contact a Charlotte criminal defense lawyer by calling 704-405-2580 to safeguard your rights or the rights of your loved one.

Overview of the Juvenile Legal System in Charlotte

The juvenile court in North Carolina deals with cases involving children under 18 who commit delinquent acts—behaviors that would be crimes if carried out by adults. For less severe infractions like truancy or running away from home, these individuals are classified as "undisciplined." The juvenile court's role is to adjudicate on these matters, focusing on rehabilitation over punishment. These proceedings are confidential, aiming to safeguard the child's future while addressing their behavior in a less formal setting than criminal courts.

Who is a Juvenile Under NC Laws?

In North Carolina, a juvenile is someone under 18 who is not married, emancipated, or in military service. The court's jurisdiction is primarily concerning delinquent or undisciplined behaviors for those aged between 6 and 17.

Juvenile Court vs. Criminal Court Terms

Juvenile and adult criminal courts in North Carolina use distinct terminology to describe similar behaviors.

  • Adjudication (Juvenile Court) vs. Conviction (Criminal Court): Adjudication is the juvenile court's determination of delinquency or undiscipline, whereas conviction is a formal declaration of guilt in criminal court.
  • Disposition (Juvenile Court) vs. Sentencing (Criminal Court): Disposition refers to a juvenile's outcome or action plan, focusing on rehabilitation. In contrast, sentencing in criminal court determines the penalty for a crime.
  • Detention (Juvenile Court) vs. Jail/Prison (Criminal Court): Detention involves holding a juvenile in a facility before adjudication, whereas jail or prison is for adults serving a sentence post-conviction.

Admittedly, these terms can be confusing. An experienced Charlotte criminal defense lawyer with the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, can help you decipher this terminology.

When Can a Juvenile Be Charged as an Adult?

In North Carolina, a juvenile can be charged as an adult, typically when they are 16 or 17 years old and commit serious offenses like felonies. This process, known as transfer to adult court, is subject to a judicial hearing where the court considers the nature of the offense, the juvenile's age, prior record, and the protection of the community.

Examples of Juvenile Offenses That Might Result in a Transfer

In North Carolina, certain juvenile offenses are more likely to trigger a transfer hearing, where the court considers moving the juvenile case to adult criminal court. This transition hinges on the offense's severity, the juvenile's age, and their prior delinquency record. Some examples of offenses that might lead to a transfer to adult court include the following:

  • Violent felonies, such as homicide, aggravated assault, and robbery, especially if they involve the use of a weapon.
  • Serious sex crimes: Including rape or sexual assault, particularly when they involve force or coercion.
  • Repeated offenses: Chronic delinquent behavior or a history of serious crimes can lead to consideration for transfer.
  • Drug-related offenses: Major drug crimes, such as trafficking or distribution, especially if they are part of organized criminal activities.

Having a knowledgeable North Carolina criminal defense attorney is critical in these cases. A transfer to adult court significantly affects a juvenile's future, so a compelling defense and a clear understanding of the legal process are vital to managing these intricate proceedings.

Ways to Contest a Juvenile Transfer Hearing

A Charlotte juvenile defense attorney may employ various strategies to contest a juvenile transfer hearing. Some strategies may include:

  • Demonstrating the juvenile's amenability to treatment and rehabilitation within the juvenile system;
  • Highlighting the absence of a prior delinquent history;
  • Presenting evidence of the juvenile's positive social, family, and educational background and;
  • Arguing the potential for adverse effects of adult system placement on the juvenile's development and rehabilitation.

Contesting a juvenile transfer hearing in North Carolina requires a skilled criminal defense attorney who understands the nuances of both juvenile and adult legal systems. An experienced attorney can effectively navigate the complexities of the law, advocate for the juvenile's best interests, and strive to keep the case within the juvenile system, where the focus is more on rehabilitation than punishment.

Is Your Child Charged With a Serious Crime?

If you have a child who has been charged with a crime and is facing a transfer hearing, it is imperative that you do everything possible to ensure they remain in the juvenile justice system. At the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, we’ve assembled a dedicated team of Charlotte juvenile defense lawyers who are committed to fighting on behalf of young men and women charged with serious felony crimes. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 704-405-2850, or connect with us through our secure online contact form.

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