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When a child under the age of 18 breaks the law in North Carolina, he or she will often be considered a “juvenile delinquent.” Under the law, this means that a minor has done something illegal.
Instead of referring to a juvenile’s transgression as a “crime” the law instead refers to them as “delinquent acts.” There are two types of delinquent acts:
- Acts that would not be a crime if committed by an adult, such as truancy; these are also called age-related or status offenses
- Acts that would be considered a crime if committed by an adult, such as robbery or vandalism
Some minors who commit certain crimes may qualify to participate in North Carolina’s Juvenile Justice program, rather than going through juvenile court. A division of the Department of Public Safety, Juvenile Justice is designed to aid at-risk youth and prevent further criminal acts. The program includes education, assessment, and treatment for children between the ages of 6 and 15, as well as their families.
If the offense is serious enough to warrant a court action, the juvenile will go through the juvenile court system, which is vastly different from the system for adults. For example, instead of being arrested and put in jail, minors are detained in a juvenile correction facility.
Most juveniles are tried as children through the juvenile court system. However, older juveniles who commit very serious offenses may be tried as adults.
To learn more about your child's options, call (919) 805-3663.
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