Juvenile Laws


Here to help youth deal with mistakes, no matter how serious

The juvenile defense lawyers at Clifford & Harris, PLLC help guide minors accused of committing simple or serious crimes navigate the juvenile justice system, which is separate and different from the adult court system.

The North Carolina Juvenile Code defines a juvenile delinquent as anyone at least six years of age but under 18 who commits an offense that is a crime under state law or under an ordinance of local government, including violation of the motor vehicle laws.

The juvenile arrest process in North Carolina

Police do not place juveniles under arrest, but rather take them into temporary custody. The officer in charge has to choose one of the following options:

  • Hold the youth in custody and levy charges
  • Release the youth
  • Transfer him or her into another program

The officer bases this decision on information obtained from the victims of the crime, statements or admissions made by the youth and any past records he or she may have in the juvenile justice system.

If the officer files criminal charges, the presiding judge has many options, including:

  • Placing the youth on probation
  • Requiring the youth to reimburse the victim for any property damage caused
  • Mandating that the juvenile spend a certain number of hours working in the community without pay
  • Ordering the youth to attend school regularly and to make satisfactory grades
  • Requiring the juvenile to participate in counseling if the crime was related to drugs or emotional problems

Adjudication in court

Juveniles have no right to a trial by jury. Instead they are subject to a hearing before a district court judge. A Juvenile Court counselor helps the court assess the juvenile’s situation and is an active part of the case.

The judge’s orders depend on the seriousness of the offense, the juvenile’s prior record, his or her immediate needs and whether the juvenile poses a threat to the community.

If the police take your child into custody for committing a crime, you need to discuss your options as soon as possible with a Greensboro or High Point criminal defense attorney who regularly works in Juvenile Court.

A juvenile petition or summons is a serious matter. An attorney knows the best strategies and can explain all of your options. Your child’s future is at stake. Do not trust it to just any lawyer.

In some cases, following a hearing on the juvenile petition or summons, North Carolina law allows expunction of the record. Juvenile records are sealed to the public following a hearing.

Helping youth who are in trouble with the law

When you need an attorney to help your child through a difficult time, do not hesitate to contact our firm. Our considerable experience in juvenile justice is an asset you can count on.

Contact us at 336-574-2788 or online to see how we can help.